Interview with Jay Prakash Shukla

Jay Prakash Shukla
Jay Prakash Shukla
CEO & Co-Founder
1-India Family Mart
1-India Family Mart

Lack of space, high costs in metros pushing retailers to tier 2 & 3 cities
1-India Family Mart, established in 2012 and owned by Nyssa Retail Private Limited, is among the leading value retail chains in India. The company provides affordable fashion apparels, lifestyle products and general merchandise across India. The company opened its first store in Uttar Pradesh and soon expanded operations across Bihar, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Rajasthan, Punjab and the North East. It has over 50 stores across east and north India now. CEO and co-founder JP Shukla shares his insights on apparel retail in tier 2 and 3 towns.

What is the size of the Indian apparel retail market? What is the year-on-year rate of growth?

We see immense growth in the retail industry and India has come to stand at the 3rd position globally. According to a ball park figure, the current fashion retail market is worth 2,97,091 crore ($46 billion) and will grow at a promising rate of 9.7 per cent to reach 7,48,398 crore ($115 billion) by 2026. Looking at the statics, Indian retail can be expected to grow at around 6 per cent year on year.

How has the retail scene in tier 2 and 3 towns in India evolved?

According to recent studies, Tier 2 and 3 cities like Lucknow, Jaipur, Chandigarh, Kochi, Patna and Bhubaneshwar are the next retail destinations owing to increasing real estate rentals of tier 1 and metro cities. Also, the retail sector in tier 2 and 3 cities has witnessed a much higher investment of 42,724 crore ($6,192 million) between 2006 and 2017 as against 8935 crore ($1,295 million) that came to tier 1 cities during the same period.

Some of the key reasons to take into consideration regarding the evolution of retail sector in tier 2 and 3 cities are factors like lack of available space in retail malls in metro cities, increasing lease rentals in metro malls, and high land prices in tier 1 cities. These factors have made it difficult for retailers to own real estate in these cities, which in turn creates opportunities for business growth in smaller cities. Therefore, it encourages entrepreneurs to discover business in tier 2 and 3 cities.

Are Indian start-ups now focusing on tier 2 and tier 3 towns in India?

Yes; depending on the current market situation, it seems the right choice to start your business in tier 2 and 3 cities. Keeping in account factors like lack of available space in metro cities and high land prices, starting a business in such cities makes business sense. International airport connectivity across cities such as Lucknow, Kochi, Bhubaneswar, Nagpur to name a few, and the rising levels of disposable income have prompted various global and local brands to plan their expansion plans in these cities. I believe it is for these reasons investors and start-ups are moving to small cities.

Who are your major competitors in the 'value-for-money' segment in apparel retail?

V-Mart is our biggest competitor; otherwise we are faring better than most of our peers in terms of financials and areas of presence.

Which are your top three revenue generating markets?

According to our data, the top 3 revenue generating markets area-wise are Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Jharkhand. Taking product vertical into consideration, the top revenue generating segments are menswear, followed by womenswear.

What is the average size of 1-India family mart stores?

The average size of a store is approximately around 7,500 sq ft.

Which are the best selling price points in tier 2 and 3 towns?

Keeping in mind the per capita income of our consumer, the product range is priced from ₹79-₹3,000.

How big is the design team at NRPL?

We have a team of 50 in designing and merchandising. It helps us maintain the latest trends and fashion across all the doors. We go through rigorous research and sourcing across the country and abroad.

Which product categories are faring well than the rest at your stores?

It varies from region to region. In Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, where male buyers frequently visit the stores, our ground floor caters to them with men's apparel, whereas in places such as Assam and Manipur, we would be doing exactly the opposite and providing more options for female apparels. Hence, it depends on various factors like population, per capita income and sex ratio, taking into consideration consumer interest in the product verticals. However, looking at the overall data, menswear segment generates the most revenue followed by womenswear.

What are the plans after the recently received investment at NRPL?

In 2019, we are looking to touch a net revenue of ₹750 crore. In 2020, we are looking at ₹1,000 crore topline. We are looking at doing it by organic and inorganic store expansions. We are open to some strategic acquisition, given the right opportunity in market. We are looking to make the right investments and additions to add value to the overall chain.

Please share details of your retail presence. Where are you planning to expand this year?

We have 59 stores across north and east India at present. The Northeast cities are also on our radar for non-apparel items, with plans to set up to nine or ten stores in Assam's capital Guwahati. The company hopes to increase its store count by at least 50 per cent by the end of the current financial year. We are all set to reach 80 stores by the third quarter of this financial year. In the last quarter, we will come up with another 10 stores.

Where do you source garments, footwear, and home linens from?

We don't have any private label brands but we are sourcing from companies that manufacture for bigger brands. We focus more on quality, comfort and bringing fresh affordable fashion to our consumers.

What kind of marketing and branding strategies do you rely on to reach your target audience?

We rely on both print media and digital marketing. We are also trying to develop an acute loyalty scheme for key customers. We have started to keep a track of the customer buying behaviour and keep a record of it. And then we plan our promos accordingly.

What are the top three human resource (HR) practices followed at NRPL?

NRPL is an employee-centric company at its heart with all HR policies revolving around the 'employee first' approach. We believe that our employees are our first set of brand ambassadors. Hence, keeping our employees and teams happy at work in every aspect is our priority. Apart from this, we have quarterly programmes organised for our employees and a strong rewards and recognition programme for all our employees. (HO)
Published on: 18/07/2018

DISCLAIMER: All views and opinions expressed in this column are solely of the interviewee, and they do not reflect in any way the opinion of