V-Mart Retail Ltd., the value retailer chain which operates through a cluster-based model, primarily operates in tier-II and -III locations spread across 108 stores in 91 cities and 12 states. So far, the chain is limited to the northern and western regions of the country, but Lalit Agarwal, CMD, V-Mart Retail, while speaking to Nipun Jacob Augustine, indicates his pan India ambitions. Looking forward to establishing its strong base in east India
What are the strategies that you plan to take to foray in online retail?
V-Mart is to implement new strategies to bring about a technological reformation in its set-up. We try to put technological information in good use, the reason why going online through our web-based platform will be a viable option. We have an offline-to-online strategy, where offline would feed the online demand. We need at least a year to start online retail and it will be around next Diwali.
What are your future expansion plans?
Our main focus has been on scaling up the business. However, we do not believe in hoisting our flags everywhere; we judiciously watch our steps for future endeavours. Right now, the states of Odisha and West Bengal are on our radar to gradually expand to the Eastern parts of India.
You have an offline and online combined strategy, where offline would feed the online demand. Please elaborate?
Our focus has always been offline; through opening brick-and-mortar stores, but yes we will keep looking out at the emerging opportunities in the market. We only want to add better skilled expertise and knowledge in all our services. We will also be improving on our back-end technology, which acts like the backbone of any business by integrating online and offline channels.
What are you doing on the digital platform?
The customers who we are trying to target are rural or district dwelling population. Over the past few years, they have transitioned into tech-savvy and mobile apps friendly customers. They have grown to become more accessible and approachable with 3G and 4G connections, activated on the devices they operate. The future and present of a business are its customers and digitalisation across the company. The thought process of the company is to increase the productivity.
What is your compounded year-on-year growth?
Currently, our company’s CAGR is 30 per cent, as against 28 per cent recorded last year.
Who are your competitors in the category, and how do you plan to counter them?
We primarily operate in tier-II and -III cities with the chain of ‘Value Retail’ department stores, and at present, we do not see much of a competition.
However, discounting the competition in the long run would not be appropriate to say. Of course, there will be a multi-level competition in different cities with presence of brands catering to consumers such as Big Bazaar, Reliance Trends, Vishal Mega Mart.