Consumer durable brand Usha International is looking to grow its retail sales in 2022 by at least 40 per cent over the previous year, said Kapil Kohli, President – Retail, Usha International, in an interview with Tanya Krishna of FinancialExpress.com. “We are optimistic about the growth in demand during the upcoming quarter, especially as we enter the festive season in August, starting with Rakshabandhan, Onam, and Ganesh Chaturthi, to Durga Pujo, Navratri, Dussehra, Diwali, and up to Gurupurab and Christmas in December. For retail, the festive season contributes nearly half of our yearly sales,” he said. Even as inflation hit consumer demand this summer, Kapil Kohli said that Usha International has seen consistent upsurge in retail demand across categories including kitchen and home appliances, fans as well as sewing machines. Here are the edited excerpts of the interview.
How is the business environment for Usha International at present? Where are the sales coming from?
This summer has been especially encouraging with demand for Usha‘s fans and cooling appliances, courtesy soaring temperatures, and retail sales surpassing expectations. We are optimistic about the growth in demand during the upcoming quarter, especially as we enter the festive season in August. We are ensuring we have an extremely robust supply chain network in place to handle the uptick in demand. We are hoping to do well and surpass last year’s retail sales by at least 40 per cent. In recent months, the footfall at brick-and-mortar stores has increased exponentially across India, accompanied by the rapid proliferation of online shopping, both of which make us bullish for Usha Retail.
What were the most sold categories this year?
This summer season has been very good in terms of sell-out for fans and cooling appliances. Demand for sewing machines is fueled by the recent rise in upcycling, Do-It-Yourself, and creative hobby trends in India.
Will there be a price hike by the company in the coming months? Also, what will be the quantum of the price hike?
Key commodities across categories witnessed a consistent increase in price for well over a year now, of which only 75-80 per cent was passed on to the consumer. As of today, we are postponing our price rise due to the softening of commodity prices despite rupee depreciation leading to a 5-7 per cent increase in cost pressures.
How much of your sales are from online channels? Are you looking to grow it?
We, at Usha, realised that offline and online work in tandem and complement each other to drive real retail success. In line with this, we have made relevant investments and concerted efforts to enhance the browse-to-buy journey. Meanwhile, as footfall returns to retail stores, we are also re-inventing our in-store experiences. E-commerce has risen multi-fold in the past two years, and contributes nearly 8-9 per cent to Usha’s overall sales.
Tell us about your expansion plans in India for this fiscal. What kind of investment are you planning to facilitate these plans?
The Usha Retail business encompasses our different B2C channels through which we provide our products to consumers. Usha has a pan India presence through a robust network of over 1800+ retail stores in modern and rural retail including 50+ company-owned and company-operated Usha branded retail stores, as well as multi-brand outlets. We unveiled a 1100 square feet company retail store in Indore this month. Looking ahead at the rest of the year, we are focussed on further expanding our retail footprint. We are also planning to launch multiple new products across the categories we operate in, during the coming months.