A peek into the new asset-lite, Raymond shops that are taking emerging towns and cities by storm. With 106 stores launched in a year, The Raymond Shop is one of the fastest roll out of stores in the Indian men’s fashion retail history. Mohit Dhanjal, Director – Retail, shares the passionate story.
Raymond needs no introduction! It is not a just a mere brand name; it’s as much a part of every Indian’s life as their pre-eminent embodiment of The Complete Man. Sure, there are other textile majors, but none comes close, let alone compare, to Raymond’s ability to make a name that symbolizes trust, and then further to a brand that spans the value chain from fabrics to ready-to-wear. The brand has indeed embossed marks of unmatched credence amongst generations spanning the common man as well as the most discerning global nomad.
In its 90 plus years of legacy, Raymond has always stayed ahead of the game and the way forward was through constant innovation and avant-garde business strategies. The latest in the line is Mini TRS (The Raymond Shop), another innovative concept that rallies the thought ‘Har Shehar Mein Raymond’. Mini TRS, as the name suggests, are asset-lite Raymond Shops that the brand plans to launch in Tier -IV and -V cities and towns in India in its attempt to explore the untapped potential of these emerging locations.
“As per the 2011 census, there are over 1,200 urban towns with population above 50,000 that have a potential to support an exclusive brand store. Of the 1,200 towns, Raymond already has presence in over 400; and now we plan to test the waters in the balance 800 emerging Tier -IV and -V towns. With this in mind, we have development an asset-lite business model for franchisees that provides a sustainable retail model through which we propose to expand into these markets,” says Mohit Dhanjal, Director –Retail, Raymond Limited.
Spread over 600 sq.ft to 1,200 sq.ft, Mini TRS is a new franchise based agile business concept featuring modular designs and best global retail practices with local execution capabilities and an integrated digital Omnichannel skill sets. Although the stores replicate the legacy of TRS, they require optimised investment,and reduced project time — about 45 days from signing of the franchise agreement instead of the regular 90 days. This is possible through a new age modular design with high flexibility for change. The business model is asset-lite with a sustainable and healthy ROI.
“Having realised that small towns do not require our large format stores which involve real estate space of 2,500 sq. ft. and up to Rs 2 crore investment, we tweaked the model and came out with the concept of Mini TRS, that requires less space and investments of
about Rs 40 lakh. We have tied up with local entrepreneurs to expand in these markets,” adds Mohit Dhanjal.
The franchise route for expansion has ensured swift growth of the concept within a very short period of time. The first Mini TRS was launched on March 25, 2017 at Bitha, Bihar and 105 more stores were rolled out till April 2018, earning the distinction of fastest roll out of stores in the Indian fashion retail history. The brand aims to roll out a total of 300 TRS stores by the end of 2019.
A Revised Product Mix
The Mini TRS features a revamped product mix that aligns with the preferences of its customers. There will be more than 500 SKUs in these stores across fabrics and ready-to-wear collections. Mini TRS also provides custom tailoring services.
“We have created a new line of merchandise for these towns which provides great value to our customers. All fabrics and ready to wear products feature prices that align with these markets. We have also put up a digital interface for our consumers wherein they can directly access our webstore for a wide variety of products,” says Mohit Dhanjal.
Raymond has an expansive distribution network that already reaches out to over 5,000 plus multi-brand outlets through direct as well as distributor and wholesaler based channels. These direct and indirect channels of distribution helps the brand to reach these emerging towns with the right product mix and faster turnaround time.
Franchise Support By Raymond
At Raymond, the essence of creating partnerships with entrepreneurs in such markets was understood very early and that has helped the brand create very strong and engaged channel partners.
The key to a franchisee’s success lies with the conduct of engagement and training programmes that Raymond provides on various subjects pertinent to modern retail like product training, customer relationship management, staff development, visual merchandising and operations, apart from evolving product portfolio that ensures the product off ering is in line with the changing consumer preferences and requirements. The brand also actively engages with its franchise partners wherein their knowledge of their markets is leveraged through science and technology provided by Raymond to activate the brand in the local catchment and ensure superior last mile service delivery. Every franchisee is supported by an Area Manager who builds local calendarized activations and marketing plans for each outlet depending on local festivals as well as key talking points. Through a co-operative marketing pool, the activation calendar is implemented by the local franchisee and store so that they may leverage their local knowledge to maximise the efficiency of all such activities. While there are broad brand guard-rails available, each city/market develops and drives activations and promotions that are best suited for its market and customers.
Raymond which, last year, reported a total franchise revenue of Rs 1,800 crore, has reported 8 percent growth in revenue year-on-year. This growth rate is expected to increase once the mini store format starts contributing to the overall revenue.