Interview: Siddharth Bindra, Managing Director, Biba India

By: |
November 12, 2021 6:53 AM

‘We plan to add 200 stores in three years’

Since September 2021, we are observing good traction and expect offline to be close to 100% of 2019 numbers.Since September 2021, we are observing good traction and expect offline to be close to 100% of 2019 numbers.

Biba India’s retail roadmap involves expansion in the metros as well as tier II and III towns. Siddharth Bindra talks to Vaishnavi Gupta about the impact of the pandemic on the ethnic wear category, the company’s foray into fragrances, and its renewed focus on categories such as jewellery and footwear.

How has the pandemic impacted Biba’s offline retail expansion plan?

We plan to continue our expansion across the country. Last month, we opened five stores in Bengaluru. We are currently at 296 stores, and will touch 325 by December. Of the total stores, approximately 20% are franchise-owned. Additionally, we plan to add 200 stores over the next three years. In spite of having multiple stores in the metros, we see potential in opening a few more. We would also be looking at tier II and III cities for expansion.

Which format will you use to further your retail footprint?

Our growth plans include both small format as well as flagship stores. In March, we launched our 35th flagship store in Delhi at Ambience Mall, Vasant Kunj. Of the total 200 stores that we plan to add, 40% would be flagship stores. The key differentiator between flagship stores and small-format stores is that the former are much bigger, around 3,000-5,000 sq ft in size. We are also creating a different experience for customers at these stores. In our trial rooms, for instance, we have special lighting techniques that allow customers to see how a dress would look in the afternoon or in the evening to make informed decisions.

What prompted your foray into fragrances?

As we grow and expand into new categories, gifting is an area we are going to be focussing on with the launch of fragrances. Our consumers wanted a safe gifting option from Biba, and after due research and customer feedback, fragrances emerged as a clear winner. We created a new brand called Spelle, which has a collection of three fragrances — Intoxique, Dea and Spoil Me. We hope to capture the new-age consumer who is looking at fragrances as a gifting option in the premium price range. The 30 ml fragrance is available at Rs 999, and the gift set that has all three fragrances is priced at Rs 3,299.

How much has e-commerce sales grown for Biba in the past year?

The share of e-commerce sales has gone up by 20-25% in the past 17-18 months. We expect online sales to go up to 30-35% in the next two to three years. We have sharpened our focus on e-commerce as it provides the convenience of contactless delivery. Apart from our own website, we have also expanded presence across marketplaces like Amazon and Myntra.

The ethnic wear category took a big hit during the pandemic. What was Biba’s experience?

Sales were down by nearly 40-50% because of lockdowns, and there were no social functions like weddings and events taking place. We have been closely watching the situation since last year, which kept changing with the multiple lockdowns. We have struck a revenue-sharing deal with malls and high-street partners. Given our long-standing relationships with landlords, they have been very progressive in their approach and have supported us. In places where they were not supportive, we have had to exit. We closed approximately 29 stores across the country last year. Since September 2021, we are observing good traction and expect offline to be close to 100% of 2019 numbers.

How did you adapt to the pandemic vis-à-vis your product offerings?

We launched the WFH collection in 2020 which has been performing well. The timing of the launch was apt and relevant. We plan to continue working on the WFH collection as we are sure that the hybrid working model will continue for the next 12-14 months. In June last year, we came up with the sleepwear and loungewear collection, comprising kaftans, two-piece sets, sleepwear robes, gowns, etc. The category saw good uptake, especially kaftans, and we plan to expand our offering in this segment. We also launched an athleisure range, and masks in the accessories segment. Going forward, we will be focussing on jewellery, bags and footwear.

Follow us on TwitterInstagramLinkedIn, Facebook 

Get live Stock Prices from BSE, NSE, US Market and latest NAV, portfolio of Mutual Funds, Check out latest IPO News, Best Performing IPOs, calculate your tax by Income Tax Calculator, know market’s Top Gainers, Top Losers & Best Equity Funds. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BrandWagon is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel and stay updated with the latest brand news and updates.

Next Stories
1What are the expectations for online retail in 2022
2How to build a brand that displays human qualities
3How radio advertising can help brands find untapped audiences