Managing Director Shoppers Stop Ltd.
What kinds of problems are often faced by leading chain retails with respect to human resources? Do you feel that it is a very demanding industry?
Retail associates are the least appreciated human beings in the society. They stand in the store between 8 to 10 hours every day. They serve the customers, with happy faces every single day. They don’t get to enjoy Diwali, Xmas or Eid. It is a tough job at low salaries; as a result the industry faces large level of attrition.
Few regions have been suffering from the problem power crises; do you think this is adversely affecting the growth of retail sector?
Power is a perennial problem in India. Apart from shortages & cuts, power costs have risen in India dramatically. In some cases they have more than doubled in less than 4 years. This affects profitability of stores.
FDI in single brand retailing has been a very critical issue in the country. What are your views on it? Will you partner an international retailer through foreign direct investment?
FDI in single brand or multi brand retail have been more politicized than required. Both have advantages as well as some disadvantages but in the long term the advantages can be higher. We should also work towards developing our cooperative sector- on the likes of Amul & Varana- especially for our food & vegetables & grains. We would be keen to consider a tie up for our hyper city format – once the rules & regulations are clearer.
What is the role of new influx of digital innovations and marketing opportunities in promoting brands?
Every new change has both advantages & disadvantages. Digital can be disruptive & hence needs to be understood & handled well. We are one of the largest social net worth companies in India & have been recognized as the no 1 company, for two years in succession by Fortune magazine. We have more than 5.1 million fans on our facebook page. Ours is the largest big-box retailer on facebook in India. We are also active on Youtube with more than a million hits on our own channel- Shoppers Stop 1991.
In the history of SS what can be called as thing "which shouldn’t have been" or an advice which you would like to give to a growing retailer?
We have had our share of “Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham”. We have learnt from each failure & come back strongly. But two key elements that have always helped us to surge back have been :
1. Focus on customers
2. Strong team work.
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