BIBA, an ethnic wear brand has over 208 exclusive stores present in over 78 cities pan India. It is also available in large format stores such as Shoppers Stop, Lifestyle, Pantaloons and Central etc. Headquartered in Chattarpur, New Delhi, BIBA currently employs over 1000 people.
Biba was also the pioneer of Bollywood merchandising in India with its first integration in “Na Tum Janno Na Hum”, followed by other exclusive partnerships with movies such as “Devdas”, “Baghban”, “Hulchul”, & “Bhoothnath” amongst many others. Last year, BIBA signed up with designer Manish Arora with majority stake in ‘Indian by Manish Arora’ brand and by joining hands with rohit Bal, introduced BIBA by Rohit Bal collection with in BIBA; thus marking BIBA’s foray in the bridal and luxury ethnic wear category.
In an exclusive conversation with Siddharth Bindra, MD, BIBA talks about Covid 19 impact and post lockdown strategies.
How has the apparel or fashion retail sector got impacted as a result of the corona outbreak?
Due to the lockdown retail sector centered around lifestyle, experiences, etc has suffered the maximum losses. The sales have come down to nil due to all offline stores having been shut down across the country. Retail is a unique industry where fixed costs are extremely high and we have a situation where we have had zero revenue since over five weeks now.
How is BIBA bracing up to tackle the fallout from COVID pandemic over the next few months to one year?
It’s too early to comment and plan anything as all critical decisions are a function of containment of Covid-19 spread. We hope that the current situation is short-lived and the solution to this crisis will soon emerge.
How is BIBA strategizing keeping in mind the impact from more entrenched consumer slowdown as markets crash and buying power shrinks?
In my view this a very deep crisis. We will only have permanent recovery once we have a cure or a vaccine and it’s very important for brands and companies to survive this period. I do of course expect a huge rebound and recovery post that.
What are your demands from the government post lockdown?
We fashion retailers are facing a massive financial crisis and we are eagerly awaiting a package from the Government for the retail sector. Post lockdown the retail sector urgently needs working capital support, subsidy for employee wages, lower GST rate to bring demand back to the sector, a moratorium for mall owners is also important so that they can extend rent-free periods for retailers to be able to survive the current crisis and the times ahead to recover from the current crisis. Getting back on track will be a long journey and without government support, it won’t be possible to recover in the next few months as the entire retail industry is witnessing uncertain and challenging times more than ever.
What happens to the existing stock of S/S?
It is very difficult to plan if one is sure about when the Market will open and how the business sectors will respond, never the less the Company is geared up to open in a safe environment as and when business resumes. We also believe that e commerce will play a leading role once business restarts.