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V-Mart reports 17 pc y-o-y recovery in sales against one-third operational days in Q1

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Retail, India’s leading value fashion retailer with presence across 19 states and 191 towns, announced its audited financial results for the first quarter ended June 30, 2020.

Owing to pandemic and a nationwide lockdown for most of Q1, it was an unprecedented quarter in the Company’s history. For the duration of complete lockdown that stretched across first half of the quarter, the company recorded zero sales, barring a few stores selling essential goods. Store reopening commenced marginally after mid-May, and gathered momentum in June when Unlock 1.0 began. Overall, after accounting for lockdowns and restricted days and hours of opening, the company’s stores were operational for approximately one-third of total available days in the normal business scenario. The quarterly results presented below have to be viewed in the aforementioned context.

V-Mart reports 17 pc y-o-y recovery in sales against one-third operational days in Q1Operational Update

In Q1, the company reported revenue of Rs 78 crore, recovering 17 percent of sales y-o-y, while same store sales (SSSG) showed 15 percent recovery. This was in the backdrop of nearly 67 percent lost store operational days for the quarter, due to lockdowns and restricted days and hours of opening. The impact of lockdowns was further magnified with festive sales of Eid in May, the second-biggest festival in the company’s key markets, completely lost this year. Lower customer footfalls (87 percent lesser y-o-y) and reduced discretionary spending also impacted sales. The impact of COVID-19 pandemic was also visible in sequential performance with Q1 revenue at 24 percent of the previous quarter, which barring the second half of March, had seen uninterrupted business operations.

For the quarter, EBITDA and PAT stood at Rs -6 crore and Rs -34 crore, respectively. As compared to revenue, the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 pandemic on profitability underscores the fact that most of the company’s costs are fixed in nature.

The company has witnessed a positive recovery trend in sales across all its locations, as and when store operations have resumed in an uninterrupted manner. This is indicative of resilience in consumer demand in the company’s markets, and also V-Mart’s established reputation as a trusted retailer. With the month of June showing some semblance of normalization, in terms of resumption of regular store operations and customer footfalls, some distinct consumer trends were noticed. The average bill size (ABS) was 11 percent higher, and conversion also increased sharply (68 percent) over last year (57 percent), while average selling price (ASP) for apparels was 8 percent lower. This indicates that customers opted for more value-buying dominated by leisurewear and casual wear, but in larger quantity that could have been led by pent-up demand, a reluctance to make frequent shopping trips, and customers’ preference to consolidate their spending with a retailer they trust.

Other Key Highlights:
– Augmenting omnichannel presence to enhance accessibility and provide the safety and convenience of digital shopping
– Exploring and introducing new channels that create easier access to value-priced merchandize for customers and also support small business owners
– An innovative incentive scheme for store teams, by generating additional sales through alternative channels and local community outreach. Through such measures, surplus front-end staff is being productively engaged, and no one has been asked to leave
– Caring for local communities through CSR initiatives. During the quarter, the company’s frontline store teams contributed 1,600-plus hours of voluntary community work and distributed food supplies to more than one lakh stranded migrants, slum dwellers and other needy segments

Commenting on Q1 performance, , CMD, said, “V-Mart has always understood the pulse of its customers and other stakeholders, and responded to their needs and pain-points proactively. In the current scenario, we are rethinking how we can deliver more value, in a more safe and more convenient manner to our customers, and realigning our product assortment, pricing, and channels to what they need the most at the moment. We have seen customers flocking back to our stores as and when lockdowns have been lifted, and this means that V-Mart is a retailer they trust their fashion choices, their money and their health with. More broadly, V-Mart has a long-lasting trusted relationship also with the local communities. We are ensuring that all stakeholders dependent on V-Mart have adequate liquidity to sustain themselves. The COVID-19 crisis offers us a compelling reason to further reinforce this trust.”

COVID Outlook

Even though COVID-19 pandemic had a drastic impact on the economy, creating a scenario of uncertainty, the company has witnessed steady recovery of customer footfalls and sales wherever store operations have resumed uninterrupted. This is indicative of the company’s customer ‘stickiness’ driven by relevant product assortment and trust, and portends well for the forthcoming quarter, which has been historically dominated by festive shopping.