Departmental store chain Shoppers Stop is eying a few acquisitions in the direct-to-consumer (D2C) segment, according to the company’s MD and CEO Venu Nair.
“We are under discussion with a few companies and you will hear about it when it is crystalised,” Nair told Moneycontrol on the sidelines of the RAI Retail Leadership Summit 2022.
Shoppers Stop, Nair said, is also onboarding several D2C companies on its digital platform and on the soon-to-be-launched digital app under its beauty format SS Beauty.
“We are partnering and introducing several D2C brands in our online platforms and some in our stores too, given the space constraint,” he said.
The company, Nair shared, will launch its SS Beauty app in August.
“We are the largest player in the premium beauty segment today but we have been skewed towards physical stores so far. However, now we are rapidly engaging with our customers online also. The physical stores of SS Beauty will be augmented with SS Beauty app soon,” he added.
Several FMCG and retail brands have acquired or invested in D2C brands recently. FMCG major ITC acquired Mylo earlier this month, while Aditya Birla Fashion And Retail (ABFRL) set up a separate entity in February to build a portfolio of D2C brands organically and inorganically.
Shoppers Stop is also looking to launch a few more exclusive brands for its online platforms besides Infuse. The departmental store has reached pre-COVID level footfalls with the reopening of the economy, which has also been fuelled by events such as marriages and the opening-up of offices.
“We are witnessing a wardrobe reboot. Consumers are venturing out now after some time and are looking to refresh their wardrobes. Several events had been postponed due to the third wave and now they are taking place and that’s driving the sales of apparel, watches, makeup etc,” said Nair.
After a turbulent two years, the retail industry has finally recovered. A recent report by the Retailers' Association of India said that sales in February 2022 showed growth of 6 percent from pre-pandemic sales levels (February 2020), and 10 percent compared to sales levels in the same month (February 2021) last year.
The consumer durables and electronics category grew 31 percent, food and groceries jumped 33 percent and QSR surged 38 percent compared to February 2020, and 28 percent, 19 percent and 16 percent, respectively, compared to February 2021 (Y-O-Y), the report indicated.
The Apparel and Footwear categories have also witnessed double-digit growth (Y-O-Y) with a steady decline in the rate of COVID-19 cases, the report said.
According to CRISIL, after the 40 percent decline last fiscal because of COVID-19, the revenue of brick-and-mortar apparel retailers will grow 20-25 percent on year this fiscal, driven by a strong recovery in demand despite the third wave of the pandemic.