Venu Nair, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Shoppers Stop, in an exclusive conversation with CNBC-TV18, said there will be lower discounts during the coming sales season, but did not attribute this to the inflation situation.
“The amount of discount (we get from brands) has not been high, (it’s been) almost negligible. I would expect this to continue. Over a period of time, brands have relooked at their models. They have optimised ways to sell and also optimised returns. And hence, the overall discounting would be lower,” Nair said to a question on whether he expects a drop in consumer demand in the coming sales season.
Asked if apparel prices are set to rise due to costlier raw materials, and higher transportation costs, the Shoppers Stop MD said they would stay away from price hikes at least for the next few months. One of the major focuses of the company would be to improve its efficiency to help boost sales, he added.
“At the moment, we don’t want to do another price increase. Instead, we are looking at different ways to drive our business and with efficiency,” said Nair.
Nair also said that when they hiked prices three months ago, it did not have a negative impact on demand.
“We increased prices three months ago, and the impact has been minimal. Being in the premium segment, the impact has been lower,” said Nair, on cotton availability, rise in input and transportation costs, and business margins.
Nair also spoke about revival in sales post the COVID-19 third wave and footfalls recovering at faster than expected rate.
He said consumers are now more confident of visiting stores, malls and crowded places, and this has helped footfalls revive after the lows of the initial COVID waves.
“Revival and footfalls in stores from February have been very strong. We are pleasantly surprised at the speed at which footfalls have come back into stores. The reasons for this are obvious. Most of the people are double vaccinated. And, customers and consumers are much more comfortable walking into the stores. They are also comfortable being in spaces with a large number of people. If you also look at hotels, restaurants, and airports, they are all full of people. We are also seeing the same scenario in retail,” Nair said.