With Nature’s Basket buy, we get access to Mumbai and west: Shashwat Goenka

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Published: May 18, 2019 12:46:44 AM

Spencer’s Retail’s acquisition of Nature’s Basket from Godrej Industries will be very complementing, geography-wise and products-wise, believes Shashwat Goenka, sector head, retail & FMCG, RP-Sanjiv Goenka Group.

Shashwat Goenka, sector head, retail & FMCG, RP-Sanjiv Goenka GroupShashwat Goenka, sector head, retail & FMCG, RP-Sanjiv Goenka Group

Spencer’s Retail’s acquisition of Nature’s Basket from Godrej Industries will be very complementing, geography-wise and products-wise, believes Shashwat Goenka, sector head, retail & FMCG, RP-Sanjiv Goenka Group. In a telephonic interaction with FE’s Mithun Dasgupta, Goenka says the deal is expected to be closed within two to three months’ time and post-acquisition, Spencer’s will retain the Nature’s Basket brand as it is a very strong brand in Mumbai, Pune and Bengaluru. Excerpts:

What is the rationale behind the acquisition of Nature’s Basket by Spencer’s Retail?
There are a couple of things. Firstly, if you look at Spencer’s, our focus has been the North and the South of the country. With the acquisition of Nature’s Basket, we will get access to Mumbai and west. Because it has 36 stores in the west with one lakh sq ft trading area. Secondly, it is very complementing from positioning perspective, because Nature’s Basket is positioned as an aspirational retailer, where our own positioning is making fine living affordable. We are slightly more premium than a typical retailer, and it is about the experience you have when you come to our stores in addition to the products that we sell. And Nature’s Basket is also positioned in a similar manner. The next thing is both our company and Nature’s Basket have a very strong omnichannel DNA. Spencer’s has an online presence along with the physical stores. Nature’s Basket also has a strong online presence in Mumbai along with the physical stores. Also, their private label programme has a very strong presence, and we believe that is something which is very extendable even to the Spencer’s stores. So, that could also become a possible youth business as we go forward. Thus, this acquisition is very complementing. If you really look into the things they do and geography-wise, products wise it will fit in very well soon.

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What are the regulatory approvals needed for this acquisition? When is the deal expected to be closed?
The first approval required was the Spencer’s board approval. The board today (Friday) gave an in-principal approval. Now, shareholders’ approval is required. I think it will take anywhere between 45-70 days to close the deal. Two to three months’ time is the general process for this kind of transaction.

Post-acquisition, will you retain the Nature’s Basket brand?
I will be better placed to answer this question once we finish the acqiuistion, and we get into the details of the operations of the company. But the Nature’s Basket brand has a very strong brand presence, so it will continue as Nature’s Basket only.

Currently, Nature’s Basket stores are in Mumbai, Pune and Bengaluru. Will you open some stores under its brand in the east and other parts of the country?
There is a potential. But I don’t know yet which brand will operate in which region after the buyout. Potential is there, you can take Spencer’s to the West, you can bring Nature’s Basket to the East. But, we don’t know now what we will do going forward. It is a bit premature to answer this question right now.

Which are the new products Spencer’s Retail will get after the completion of this acquisition?
It is hard to give a list right now. In food and grocery, they have a very strong private label programme, which is slightly more premium, slightly more aspirational. That is something which could be the new addition we could bring into Spencer’s.

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