CFOs need to be versatile
CFOs need to be versatile

The role of CFOs or head of finance in modern retail organizations is not just limited to day- to-day accounts and compliance with tax regulations. Competition is intensifying in this sector and CFOs are increasingly working with top management of retail chains to chalk out their expansion strategy, conduct holistic review of operations, and M&A activities. In a candid conversation, Sundar Raman, President-Finance at Lifestyle Stores, Landmark Group highlighted the evolving role of CFOs in the retail sector.

Retailer: Kindly highlight the changes in consumer behaviour pattern you have observed over the last few years, and its financial implications?

Sundar Raman (SR): Customers have become value conscious, but at the same time want to be in tune with current trends. The average purchase by consumers at a store visit is currently about Rs 2, 000 and it has grown by nearly 20 per cent over the past 3-4 years.

Retailer: E-retail and digital retail have shown large growth over the past few years. Kindly share its implications for you?
SR: E-retailing is still at an early stage, and broadly does not have an impact on our overall business.

Retailer: Kindly elaborate on the evolving role of CFOs in retail?

SR: CFOs, along with their traditional mandate to provide financial insights and analysis, are increasingly involved in developing and supporting organisational strategy, coupled with guiding key business initiatives. CFOs are also managing / supporting information technology, investor relations, real estate and strategic M&A initiatives for modern retail
chains. I would like to highlight that CFOs must be ‘versatile’ in the current operating environment.

Retailer: Kindly highlight your volume growth forecasts for current financial year, and how does it compare with earlier years?
(SR)-We are anticipating 7-8 per cent growth in current fiscal vis-a-vis around 2-3 per cent in earlier financial year.

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