What according to you does it take for foreign brands to succeed in India?
International brands cannot take the same route as local players and open stores in every street. There are guidelines for store quality and hence penetration takes longer. Availability of quality retail destinations is a big bottleneck. But please remember that even local brands have taken over 20 years to achieve market dominance.
"Leadership is a big learning, and you learn it every single day." This is one of your earlier statements. Can you explain your meaning in this statement in detail?
I think one never stop learning as a leader. Just managing a team does not make you a good leader. Showing people a direction and motivating them to align with your direction and believe in it is a substantial task. The complexity of this varies with the difficulty of the job on hand and the environment in which one operates. There is no simple formula to do this. One constantly learns this art of leadership.
Majority of the retailing in India is unorganized. Do you think that it is a major drawback for the Indian retail industry? Why?
Yes, but things are changing. About 8-9% of the market is organized today and I expect this to grow up to 15% in the next few years. If government liberalizes the policy on FDI we can see a quantum leap. Infrastructural development is key (Road networks, Rail networks, Quality Warehousing). Manpower development to service the needs of retailers is also the key.
Online and offline retailing should complement each other for businesses to succeed. Do you agree? Please elaborate.
Completely. I believe online is not a choice but a strategic need. Online gives us the opportunity to circumvent some of the challenges that I stated above e.g. reach through quality retail space. I believe future stores will have a mix of products and innovative technology to enhance consumer experience and choice. It wouldn't be long where using multi-channel will be the norm and stores will aim at Never-Out-of-Stock inventories using technology.
Where does Celio, India aspire to reach in the next ten years from now?
Honestly, 10 years is a long horizon. I would be happy to penetrate the top 25 cities with our own stores in the next 3 years. We plan to set up our own ecommerce site once the policy opens up for international brands. We are working hard to achieve brand visibility in all the key markets and reinforce our positioning as an effortlessly, stylish brand with European roots , and this is a big priority. Above all focus on profitability, always.
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