Evok to open 15 new franchise stores by end of this fiscal year, says CEO Rakesh Kaul | The Financial Express

Evok to open 15 new franchise stores by end of this fiscal year, says CEO Rakesh Kaul

Evok expects a total of 30 per cent of the full-year sales in the upcoming festival season; it has already expanded through franchise stores across eastern and southern parts of the country, adding ‘five new stores since April 2022’.

Evok to open 15 new franchise stores by end of this fiscal year, says CEO Rakesh Kaul
Rakesh Kaul, CEO and Whole Time Director, Hindware Home Innovation Ltd.

Furniture brand Evok, by Hindware, plans to expand its footprint to new geographies across India. “We have a strong line-up of enterprising franchise partners and our aim is to open 15 new franchisee stores by the end of FY 2022-23,” Rakesh Kaul, CEO and Whole Time Director, Hindware Home Innovation Ltd, told FinancialExpress.com. The brand expects a total of 30 per cent of the full-year sales in the upcoming festival season; it has already expanded through franchise stores across eastern and southern parts of the country, adding ‘five new stores since April 2022’. Here are the edited excerpts from the interview.

How is the home innovation and the furniture segment performing currently? What kind of growth are you witnessing in the segment?

The home innovation and furniture segment is growing at an accelerated pace, and we have seen an increased demand for our products across a comprehensive portfolio of 20,000+ SKUs. Our furnishing and furniture brand, Evok, recorded double-digit growth in the last quarter (ended June 22). We are bullish on expanding our footprints across the country via franchise stores and increasing our range of products to cater to the burgeoning needs of today’s customers. Disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic did impact businesses across sectors, however, after a muted demand for a few quarters, the market is bouncing back. Today, consumers are open to spending money to uplift or change the interiors and decor of their houses. In fact, this increase in demand has led to us focusing on a dedicated omnichannel strategy with an emphasis on D2C connect. Our value-for-money proposition has helped us build trust and loyalty for our products. Consumers today prefer Made-in-India products and the fact that over 90 per cent of Evok products are manufactured indigenously has contributed immensely to our growth.

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What kind of a rise in sales do you expect this monsoon and festive season? What percentage of annual sales come from the festive season, generally? What are your estimates for the rest of the year?

Evok recorded double-digit growth in the last quarter (June 22). We expect positive growth and a rise in demand during the upcoming festive season as well. In line with the expected increase in demand, we are investing in infrastructure and have recently shifted to a bigger warehouse spread across an area of 1 lakh sqft and are also upgrading our digital infrastructure to fulfill the end consumer demand.

We see consumers spending more especially during Durga Pooja and Diwali. We have seen great traction for our products this year and are confident that the same will continue through the rest of the year. Therefore, we expect the festive quarter to contribute around 30 per cent of the overall yearly sales. As part of the preparation, we have expanded through franchise stores across eastern and southern parts of the country adding five new stores since April 2022 at Belangir, Sri nagar, and other regional cities. 

What were the most sold categories this year? Also, what products are you betting on for the upcoming festive season?

Our range of furniture in the dining and bedding category is the most-sold product. Further, as a part of living room furniture, Sofas remain the biggest contributor to our overall business. In total, our living category of furniture contributes to approximately 50 per cent of the complete sales. Recently, we also introduced a new range of marble finish dining and center tables, along with new products in the bed category which are doing exceedingly well. This festive season, we plan to add to our existing portfolio, especially the premium products. We will be introducing a new variety of recliners, sofas, and adding to our dining solutions. 

Are you anticipating any impact of rupee depreciation on demand across categories you cater to?

Those dependent on imports are likely to be impacted. At Evok, we have drastically reduced imports and are majorly making all our products in India so the impact is negligible. In terms of prices, we are currently not looking at any price changes. However, to offer financial support to consumers we have flexible EMI options.

What percentage of your products are outsourced and what are manufactured in-house?

Evok products are manufactured in India within MSME, non-MSME partners and OEM suppliers. Only 10-15 per cent of the products are imported currently.

How do you see franchise as a model for expansion? What are your plans to expand through franchising?

The franchise model is working extremely well for us. It has helped us expand our geographical presence, build a greater brand recall and achieve a higher market share. In addition to this, it has helped us achieve our goal to maximize presence and make Evok products available to a larger audience in metros and semi-metros across India.

What kind of investment are you planning to facilitate these plans?

As a company with double-digit growth, we understand the importance of investing back into the business to expand operations. Along with the investment in the development of the basic infrastructure, we are also investing heavily in technological upgradation in order to make our app and website more consumer-friendly, informative, and engaging.

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