Kishore Biyani's vision inspired me

Mr Sanjeev Agrawal, CEO, Pantaloon, shares his experiences in a tête-à-tête with the Retailer

Retailer: What is your professional background?

Sanjeev Agrawal (SA): After getting a degree in chemical engineering from the Institute of Technology, Banaras Hindu University, Banaras, I did a management course from the Indian Institute of Management, Lucknow. Before joining Future group, I worked with HLL, Godrej Soaps, P&G, Revlon and Balsara in various capacities of sales and marketing department.


Retailer: What inspired you to enter the retail sector?

SA: When I met Mr Kishore Biyani in December 2002, I was much impressed by his vision for retail and also by his simplicity as an individual. That is what inspired me to step into retail sector. Retail, at that point in time, was in its nascent stage. I joined Pantaloon Retail as Head (marketing), responsible for marketing activities across all formats.


Retailer: As CEO, Pantaloons, what is your responsibility?

SA: I am heading the business for ‘Pantaloons’ chain. This means that I am responsible for the P&L of the business. We have a very young team and motivating them and getting the best out of them is a key priority. We have ambitious growth plans; our chain will scale up from 31 stores to approximately 50 stores in a year’s time. Challenges that we have to face include development of new stores and also ensuring process improvement. Another challenge is understanding the diversity of consumer preferences across the country and being able to manage or cater to them.


Retailer:  In working with one of the top retail organisations of the country, how do you feel like?

SA: It is an exhilarating experience. The growth phase that we are in keeps us excited and motivated. Most importantly, the organisation allows the teams to experiment and learn whilst doing their duties. This make us get the best out of the teams.


Retailer: To whom do you attribute the success of the company?

SA: We have reached this stage due to the vision of Mr Kishore Biyani and the teamwork in the organisation.


Retailer: What do you have to say about Indian retail?

SA: The Indian retail industry is still at its infancy. We have a long way to go in developing this market further. In the organisation, our focus is on increasing consumption and therefore, we do not discuss organised or unorganised sector. In almost all categories, our country’s per capita consumption is extremely low. As the economy grows, we need to get people to consume more, which will have a trickle down effect and will help the market grow further.


Retailer: On which marketing campaigns or strategies does Pantaloons bank on to promote its brands?

SA: Pantaloons is a fashion retailer and our stores are positioned as offering ‘fresh fashion’. We have two of bollywood’s biggest names, Lara Dutta and Bobby Deol, as our brand ambassadors. We advertise through print, TV and outdoor. In keeping with our theme, our print and outdoor advertising changes every sixth week. This continuously reinforces our fresh fashion theme with customers.


Retailer: What is your advice to young aspiring retail professionals?

SA: Retail is a great place to be in. But, young professionals need to understand that it is not a glamorous industry as it appears from outside. Each one of us has to get into details, make our hands dirty and work hard to succeed.

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