Pioneers in organised retail

Mr Ram Chandra Aggarwal, Chairman and Managing Director, Vishal Mega Mart, in an interview with Retailer shares the growth of his professional career and the success of Vishal Mega Mart



Retailer: Share your voyage as retail professional with us?

Ram Chandra Aggarwal: In 2001 I realised the emerging potentials in the retail industry which is indeed the largest sector contributing to the global economy. Vishal retail started its corporate journey with a mission to bring quality garments within the reach of the common man. Imbibing its innovative concepts and techniques Vishal retail identified the vast scope of growth in retailing for the common man. Its stores have gained an enviable prominence as being the ideal store for the common man where an extensive variety and quality is offered at a very-very reasonable price structure. The Vishal retail expertise in the field of retail marketing over the years and its focus on regions, cities and exact customer preferences have earned Vishal retail an undisputed leadership status to Vishal mart.

Retailer: What was the motivating force behind your retail career option? What challenges did you face and how did you manage to overcome them?

RCA: The motivating factor is the frequently changing consumer’s demands, purchasing trends and the focus of time management in merchandising to enhance value for existing buyers, which are becoming more demanding and rationale oriented.

Price war is the biggest challenge so far followed by finding right location, giving schemes for customers, running customer loyalty programs and assortment planning as prevalent all across the world. Pilferage continues to be a nightmare for the retailers and controlling it has become a big challenge. In retail business it is the scale that counts and that is possible with opening of more outlets.

Retailer: What was the inspiration behind Vishal mega mart? Elaborate on its origin, growth and success?

RCA: When I was 21 years old I collected Rs one lakh through family savings and loans from local moneylenders to open a small shop in Kolkata's Lal Bazaar selling readymade garments. The business was a success and from then onwards there was no looking back. In tune with the pulse of the market, I envisioned a mega store that would sell garments at prices none other could match, made possible through in-house manufacturing. Today, in addition to garments, Vishal Mega Mart stores retail the entire range of household products, FMCG and electronic goods. There is no secret formula for success. We just cut out the middle-man wherever possible, and pass on that cost benefit to our consumers. Retailer: Being the pioneer in budget stores in India, what do you have to say?

RCA: Vishal is one of the pioneers in the field of organized retailing. It’s innovative methods and research work has paid dividends and it has now become a major player in the retail market. A number of its pioneering concepts have now emerged as industry standards. For instance, the company integrated backwards into garment manufacturing and expanded its retail presence at the front end.

Retailer: How many retail stores do you have at present?

RCA: We have 50 fully-integrated stores spread over an area of approximately 12.89 lakh sq.ft in 38 cities across India.

Retailer: Your stores offer a wide range of products. What strategy do you adopt to make all the sections of the store work efficiently?

RCA: Vishal’s concept of complete family store gives value to all age groups, genders and believes in bringing smile on each and every face. Vishal believes in presenting innovative and effective brands creating a whole new segment and most importantly delivery on limited budget. Today, we offer wide range of products for the entire family. We believe in family retailing and satisfying the needs of the entire family. Our products are of good quality and it is not only within the reach of the rich people but also of the common man.

Retailer: A large number of international players are entering the Indian retail scenario. How will local players take up the challenge?

RCA: Yes, it’s a big challenge. India is just experiencing the retail boom with anticipated steep growth in business. Many Indian and foreign retailers are going to have intense competition among them to entice customers with different features of products and services. The Indian players have to understand diverse culture profile from north to east to west with a diversity of needs and expectations.

Retailer: What advice would you would like to give to aspiring entrepreneurs of India?

RCA: A close understanding of the masses and their preferences. These expectations are further, exceeded with superior quality products high aspirational appeal and when offered with an irresistible price tag the customers respond with a unique loyalty.

Stay on top – Get the daily news from Indian Retailer in your inbox