Tablez, the leading organized retail group, has introduced leading global brands in F&B, toys, lifestyle, and apparel to India. The company has brought brands like Desigual, Toys’R’Us, Babies’R’Us, Build-A-Bear and GO Sport to the country. The group has also signed a strategic cooperation agreement with lifestyle brand YOYOSO to bring its stores to India. In the F&B space, Tablez holds franchise rights for Cold Stone Creamery and Galito’s in addition to successfully developing its home-grown brand Bloomsbury’s. It currently operates more than 70 outlets globally and plans to expand to 250 stores in India over the next five years.
Pandemic has had a significant impact on the organized retail but Tablez Group is still betting big on India by bringing new brands and opening new stores.
“Our bullishness comes through the sheer market size as such. Largely the market is controlled by the unorganised sector, and there is a long way for the organised sector to take over in the controlled market shares. Currently, we are operating 70 odd stores in India with different brands and portfolios. This year alone, we opened up 13 new stores, but, with the lockdowns and market restrictions, most of these stores were opened in the last quarter of the year. Despite such an uncertain year, we completed our planned expansion strategy. Next year, we have another bunch of stores opening. We expect a slow pick-up to happen, but the vaccine has brought an air of hopefulness in the market. But I believe, the real growth story will happen by the beginning of 2022,” says Adeeb Ahamed, Managing Director, Tablez.
Tablez Group is placing most of its bets in the smaller cities as the group has now analysed customer patterns and requirements in smaller cities. Earlier, their focus was only on Tier-1 and metro cities, but then gradually they understood that there is so much for them to capture in the Tier-II markets as well. It is the combination of both that they will look forward to.
“For each of the brands, we have a clear vision of the required store size. With the help of e-commerce, we fulfil the requirements of customers. This year, we've launched Attablez.com where we have brands Toys’R’Us and Babies’R’Us. We are adding more brands to that channel. We are also present in major third-party e-commerce websites like Amazon, Tata Cliq, etc.,” shares Ahamed.
To be a pure omnichannel player the brand has provided tablets in each store and has no plans to put any kiosks.
“We still have the same amount of people on the floor to give customers a personalised experience,” Ahamed states.
“We strongly feel that as the stores' portfolio will increase, we'll have more considerable growth on our e-commerce sites. In the coming few years, we envision to cross 250- 350 stores in the market. We believe the first level of conversation with the customers starts from the stores, and that journey continues with the e-commerce platform,” he adds.
With marketing and related strategies constantly evolving, the group is re-evaluating the depth of their marketing spend to make sure they have a tighter control of how they deploy their resources going forward.
“More than playing on pre-set spending numbers, the idea is to get creative with how our brands are positioned, and reach consumers through a mix of digital and traditional marketing. We will also be targeting our efforts to gain the support of key opinion leaders in the fashion, retail and F&B segment,” Ahamed shares.
The group is expecting on doubling of sales from all their brands vis a vis this year, although internally the primary target is to recover lost ground and exceed their 2019 peak numbers by the first half of 2021.
“From here, we aim to build on the momentum and aggressively pursue our goals, to make sure we record a healthy growth by the end of the year. Even though this sounds good, we understand very well that ‘good is not good enough in today’s challenging times’, and we aim to keep challenging our position on a day-to-day basis, he shares.
Tablez Group plans to be an everyday company where they can touch their consumers' lives with one offering or the other, however, there are certain areas that they haven't explored yet.
“In the next 2 years, we will be focusing on expanding the existing portfolio,” says Ahamed.
“Tablez Group is a place we want to aggregate everything together. This year, we are also launching the Tablez Rewards Programme’. We vision that consumers can buy and redeem across the brand portfolios we have,” he further adds.
The group has no plans, yet, to sub-franchise their brands in India. In the distant future, if they have the right expertise in sub-franchising then maybe, however, nothing is on the cards for next 3 to 4 years.
Up until 2025, Tablez Group doesn’t have any plans to go on the listing.
Expectations From 2021
Year 2020 was a challenge due to the pandemic. The group was equally affected, being in the retail industry, although they are seeing an improvement in recent weeks.
“The changing consumer sentiment and economic situation augurs well for our brands, all of which are experiential-led and offer the Indian consumer a taste of the world-class at affordable prices; whether it be toys, fashion or food. We managed to open 13 outlets across our various brands this year, mostly in the final quarter and look forward to solidify the reach and value of our existing brands even further in 2021. The imminent rollout of a vaccine is good news and we believe, our approach to digital sales channels through our e-commerce app and customer rewards program will drive customer satisfaction in the coming weeks,” says Ahamed.
"We also plan to open atleast 20 new stores, and will be eyeing Tier-2 cities such as Lucknow and Trivandrum, apart from metros and key cities we are already present in,” he concludes.