V2 Retail Ltd
Privilege Clubs(India Retail Forum)
Rising like the proverbial phoenix from the ashes, Ram Chandra Agarwal now heads the V2 retail chain, and remains every bit as confident of his success as he was a decade ago, although his optimism is now tempered with pragmatism.
Born in Kolkata in 1965, Agarwal was only 21 when he entered retail in 1986, from a 50 square feet store that offered photocopying services. After six months of trial and error, he decided to retail readymade garments. And this was the birth of Vishal Retail. As promoter, he set up the first Vishal Garments store in Kolkata in 1994. In 2001, Agarwal moved to New Delhi to launch Vishal Retail, taking it public in June 2007 to raise INR 110 crore.
However, in the years that followed, the company’s fast-paced store growth outpaced its sales and logistics capabilities, leading to deep losses and an eventual buyout by PE investors.
“Despite my setbacks, I have gone ahead and started a new concept under the V2-Value & Variety brand. It is a fresh start for me and I am confident. Retail is a subject that I know very well. Today, we ensure that the stock turnover ratio is much better from the previous 60 days to the current 45 days,” Agarwal says.
Drawing lessons from Vishal Retail’s story, Agarwal now keeps a tight watch on merchandise and location strategy. “We now offer only such merchandise that is closely aligned with customers’ needs. We are also ensuring that all V2 stores are within prominent market locations so that customers do not have to travel far to reach us,” he elaborates
V2 currently has 16 stores operational across the country. “Barring three stores in Delhi-NCR, all the other stores are in tier II towns, which provide excellent growth potential and very good business sense,” Agarwal notes.
“We also plan to enter the e-commerce space in the next few months, using the strategies and fundamentals that I have gained from being in retail all these years.”
“I enjoy being in retail . Mainly because it gives a sense of purpose and belonging, ” he says.
Agarwal believes that to achieve full potential, Indian retailers must join independent retailers, operating under one brand name or symbol groups. “The group business model allows independent retailers to develop group strategy and achieve sale economies by using their group network,” he explains.
“As a result, the individual retailers grow their business and can effectively compete with large business chains in their neighbourhoods. It assures sustainable growth over a long term, due to the stable nature of the business model.”