With 266 stores across 98 cities in India and 11 international stores, Fabindia Overseas Private Limited is India’s largest retail platform for a wide range of products produced by artisans living largely in rural areas. Recently, indianretailer.com spoke with Ajay Kapoor, President-Retail, Fabindia Overseas Pvt. Ltd who was present at recently concluded CII National Retail Summit 2017 held in capital city New Delhi. Interview Excerpts..
What was rationale behind recently introduced experiential centre in Mumbai? What is brand looking to achieve with this initiative?
We have already introduced similar format in Delhi. It is basically about giving a customer a one more choice to visit the store. We have introduced experiential centre with the cafes. Living up with brand’s identity, we have come up with an authentic Indian Bistro we are bringing ‘Indianness’ to food also. We are looking to open 10 more such formats in the time to come.
How would you sum up the journey of the brand so far? How the brand is looking to expand its existing categories?
The journey so far has been very encouraging. We have been growing with the same value the brand was started with. We are operating in many categories, and all categories are growing equally. With Fabindia we say it is way of life. Undoubtedly, fashion is our largest category. In terms of category expansion, India is all about youngsters so all we would be doing all sorts of efforts to attract this age group.
Also shed light on your online business. Any plans to go on market places?
Our online business is doing very well. Basically, we are working towards omni channel. We are actually maximizing the inventory of physical stores. We are giving options to customers to buy from online if product of his size or color is not available within the store.
We are not looking to go market places for now.
Which channel is generating maximum traction for the brand?
There has been an equal traction whether online or offline. We would certainly not play on ‘discounts’; in fact, this is the reason due to which we are not there on market places yet. Online for us is a one channel of visibility and we want to be present there.
At Fabindia, what kind of impact you have seen because of GST?
Yes it had impacted us initially, but now things are coming back on track. In fact, the government is also taking various initiatives to bring back the normalcy, for example, slashing 28% slab to 18% is a very welcome move.
Going forward what are your expansion plans? Are you also looking to expand in smaller towns?
The expansion plan is to add 40-50 stores every year. For this year, we have already opened 37 stores till now. Though, 50% of our business is coming from metro cities, but results from tier II and III are very encouraging. However, there might be some differentiation in product offerings as we go to different markets, because we have to be conscious about the catchment. We want introduced range to be affordable to local catchment.
We have already entered tier II market; In fact, Fabindia is the only brand which is present in Port Blair and we are receiving tremendous response so far. Also, we started a store in Bhuj last year, and very shortly we would be expanding in Itanagar as well.