Thousand Cornerstones in two years

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Zerostock Retail Pvt. Ltd, which operates a retail chain called Cornerstone, plans to open 1,000 more outlets across the country in next two years, and is targeting a Rs 50-crore turnover from the retail brand.

By March-end, 30 Cornerstone outlets will open in cities including Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Kochi, Pune, Jaipur and Kolkata.

Elaborating on Cornerstone’s novel ‘zero stock’ concept, CEO Ashok Mayya told Indiaretailing: “There’s no readymade apparel available at the Cornerstone store. A typical store offers sample wear for trial and a display of designs and fabric. A person walks into a store, selects the size, and chooses the fabric he wants the shirt or trouser in. They also get to see how a fully stitched shirt in a cloth he selected would look like, on the computer screen. The stitched shirt or trouser is delivered within 24-48 hours.”

When quizzed about Cornerstone’s retail investments and targets, Mayya informed, “Aiming to have a pan-India presence, the company will invest $4 million for a total of 30 stores by the end of March. Further, it plans to have 300 stores by the end of 2008 and 1,000 stores by 2010. Each store will have 600 square feet of space. The target is to have a turnover of one million rupees per store per month.”

At Cornerstone, the customer gets clothes in 29-46 sizes. The novelty is that there will only be samples of the sizes they are available in. At present, the stores offer shirts, chinos and t-shirts for men. The plan is to have a centralised inventory and sell the products online. To take care of logistics, the company has tied up with a courier company named AFL, which will deliver at customers’ residences or offices in 24-48 hours.

“Variety, quality and value are our brand’s mantra. Our garments of comparable quality will be at least 30 per cent below the market price,” Mayya claimed.

The company has accumulated $4 million from angel investors for the initial spread, and will look at raising another Rs 50 crore from venture capitalists to support growth plans. The firm is learnt to be scouting for partners to raise Rs 50 crore in its second round of funding.

When quizzed about the quality offered under Cornerstone brand, Mayya, explained, “Fabric count is a measure of the fineness of the fabric. Worldwide, very few brands offer garments of 100 count and above. Cornerstone offers over 50 per cent of its entire collection in 100 and above counts. We promise to offer menswear in all sizes and over 300 designs.”

– Vishnu Rageev R, Bengaluru Bureau

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