Maheshwari, The Economic Times
9 September 2015
major Arvind Ltd has created a new value department chain branded
'Unlimited' by converting large stores of its existing chain Megamart
that has been struggling to shed its 'discount format' image.
The Ahmedabad-based firm has rebranded nearly 25 Megamart outlets
of more than 10,000 square feet each as Unlimited and plans to
have 125 stores under the new format in five years.
"We realised that even though we have sort of changed our
proposition, still people associate the name (Megamart) with discounts,"
said J Suresh, managing director and CEO of Arvind Lifestyle.
Arvind will sell premium brands such as Arrow and US Polo at
Unlimited stores but will focus more on mass-priced franchise
brands such as Geoffrey Beene and Cherokee.
The stores will mostly stock full priced merchandise with an
added focus on women and kids wear. "Space for women and
kids will nearly double at our new stores compared to earlier
which was mainly focussed on men's range," Suresh said.
Megamart started as a discount outlet to liquidate old stocks
in 1995. Arvind transitioned the Rs 600-crore Megamart chain into
a value retailer three years ago and started optimising it to
improve profitability. As a result, its store count has come down
from 216 in in FY12 to about 130 at present, but it could not
really get rid of the discount format tag.
Industry analysts point out that the online players have almost
completely wooed away discount hunters across the country.
"If you look at the market, the whole discounting trend
is owned by ecommerce sites now," said Devangshu Dutta, chief
executive at retail consulting firm Third Eyesight. "For
any physical retailer if there is an opportunity to review its
real estate, then it's better to look at something with better
prices and better margins," he said.
Arvind now plans to halt expansion of smaller Megamart stores
as they earn just 1.5% EBIDTA margins and have been a drag in
sales too with 2% growth last fiscal.
Instead, the company will only open large format stores that
operate with 8% margin. The existing Unlimited stores contributed
nearly Rs 300 crore in annual revenues.
In India, the value department store chain format is less crowded
with only three large players Tatas' Westside, Reliance
Trendz and Landmark Group's Max currently operating in
"If you look at the value space, I think it is the largest
market and quite unorganised today," said Suresh of Arvind
Lifestyle. "But as we go forward, it will get organised,"
said the man who steers the traditional textile group's efforts
to shift its business focus away from 'commoditised' clothes business
to brands and retail. Besides having its own brand such as Flying
Machine and Excalibur, Arvind also partners nearly two dozen international
fashion brands, including US Polo, Gap, Elle and Ed Hardy, in
Market analysts are positive about the company's potential. "Attractive
revenue growth driven by the scope for growth for large brands
in India, improving margins driven by the 'power brands' and optimisation
of Megamart operations, better working capital, and asset turns
higher than the company average should all fuel its financials,"
a recent Credit Suisse report said.
(Published in The