Shoppers Stop plans to spend 150-200 crore this year on the renovation of old stores as well as launching new stores
Shoppers Stop, one of India’s oldest department store chains dating back to the ‘90s, is undergoing a makeover. Rajiv Suri tells Devika Singh that the company is changing with the times by launching stores with a contemporary vibe, refurbishing its older stores, and bringing international and high-end brands on its racks. Edited excerpts:
Shoppers Stop has been in revamp mode. What prompted this move towards premiumisation?
We are evolving as the market evolves, keeping in mind that the consumer of today travels and is aware of what is going on around the world. We felt there was a need for a new generation of department stores. However, there is no such push towards premiumisation. While we are introducing stores with a more contemporary look and feel, and have added several high-end brands, our entry price will stay the same. In fact, we are bettering the quality and value of the merchandise. We have launched seven new stores this year and there are plans to open more by the end of this financial year. We plan to spend `150-200 crore this year on the renovation of old stores as well as launching new stores. The focus will be on tier II cities; we have opened stores in places such as Pune, Bhubaneswar and Lucknow. We now have 89 stores in 41 cities.
We want to serve young families by offering a quality shopping experience. We have recreated the kids’ area in 20 stores to include Hamleys, and are going to add Crossword bookstores, too. We have on-boarded international and high-end brands such as Jones New York, Forest Essentials and Kiko Milano.
How are you refurbishing old stores?
Currently, the men’s collection contributes 35%, the kid’s range contributes 7-8%, as do watches and sunglasses; the rest is contributed by women’s categories. Beauty is the fastest-growing category for us. We are taking initiatives to spruce up this segment further. There are plans to upgrade the beauty sections in 17 stores in the next 12-18 months, and make them more modern and aesthetic. We have opened a standalone beauty store, Arcelia, in Hyderabad; depending on its performance, we may open more such stores. We also acquired the Jo Malone franchise in India recently.
Retailers have been putting their weight behind private labels. Is that a focus for Shoppers Stop?
Private labels contribute 12% to our current business. We have set up our studio, sampling units and have more than 140 designers on board. The emphasis is on how to improve the sales of our existing products and make them more fashionable, while sticking to our entry price range. We are also looking at introducing more private brands to increase their share of sales. We have made good progress in ethnic wear, where our labels contribute 50% to the overall sales in the category. We are now working on increasing their share in other categories, too. We also plan to enter the beauty category, though not in the imminent future.
Where does your home furnishing business stand in the revamp?
We are looking at a new format for these stores too, but the focus is on Shoppers Stop now. We have introduced the home furnishing segment in 40 of our stores, and are deciding which categories to sell there. Home Stop has huge potential and we will focus on it in the next 12-18 months.
How are you tapping your partnership with Amazon?
Online contributes 2% to our sales currently, which includes our own site and Amazon. It is growing and has huge potential. We have a microsite on Amazon and four of our stores are on electronic data interchange (EDI) with Amazon, which means all the products from these stores will be available on the marketplace. We will be increasing the number of stores linked to Amazon by the end of this year.