Friday, 9 August 2013

We will take total store count to 60 by March 2014: Utsav Seth, Pavers England

From being the first international retail chain to receive FDI clearance for single-brand entry in India, to the one who bought back its franchisees to the one who now plans to expand in India and internationally, Pavers England is gung ho about the prospects of the Indian retail market. There are some policy loopholes however, that obstruct fuller growth and smooth functioning of this industry. In conversation with ET Retail's Bhavya Misra, Utsav Seth, FICCI Retail Committee Member & MD & CEO, Pavers England, speaks more about the business plans and issues therein.

What are your thoughts about the potential of Indian retail market?

We have an absolute unconditional faith in the growth potential of India. We are investing heavily in the Indian market with a target investment of US$ 10 million planned over the next 10 months and, an additional US$20 million over 30 months. We aim to pump this investment into funding our expansion and also strengthening our R&D facilities. Our core focus remains expanding to 500 point-of-sales by the year 2016.

What are the main issues related to the Indian retail industry that you think need attention?

There is a dearth of trained manpower in the retail sector. Training of manpower resources comes as an additional cost to the retailers and it becomes a loss-making proposition if the attrition rates tend to be high too!

To overcome this roadblock, however we are setting up a world class training academy which is becoming operational in two weeks from now. We are creating a state of art in-house human resource development academy specific to retail. The motive behind this academy is to feed our main growth and no business motivations as such.

Which category of footwear sells most in your business? What is the percentage of sales contributed by each men's and women's footwear at Pavers England?

Women's footwear sells most at Pavers England stores. The same category contributes about 50-55 per cent of our total revenue. I believe women's footwear is going to drive the growth in the footwear industry.

Which are the top cities which constitute maximum sales for Pavers England?

All the top metro cities contribute good sales for us. Among the tier I cities it is Pune, Ahmedabad and Chandigarh which are good territories for Pavers England.

When it comes to footwear design capabilities, do you think Indian market is equipped enough?

If we go by global standards, I think the concept of footwear design and understanding itself is a challenge for the existing talent pool in India. Their exposure to trends to global components, to the right tools and to materials itself is a big challenge. And it is not a question of availability of design - one will be able to design if they had the exposure - this is something which is extremely lacking in India. Globally, if you see design experts travel a lot to see market trends, they have the know-how and the equipment to be able to design and deliver. But these trends are absent in India.

For us, we have a global development centre in the Europe and the UK and we have our development centres in China, Italy and Brazil and Spain as well. We have a global product development team. These teams are capable to trend forecast for the Indian market as well.
What is your take on the policy regulations pertaining to retail industry in India? What is the need of the hour?

The implementation of GST (Goods and services tax) has been lingering for a long time now. Ironically, it is the single-most important factor that is needed to streamline retail operations in India. A lack of uniform taxation system across the country has been the biggest bottleneck. The most important need in this respect, is the growth and unification of the GST in the country. It is indeed the single-most determining factor that will help improve the functioning of the Indian retail industry.

What are your future plans? What is the turnover you are looking at this fiscal?

We have 30 exclusive stores in India presently and we are planning to open 30 more by March 2014. Thus we will take the total count to 60 stores by early next year. We are also planning to expand internationally. While we are present with 150 exclusive brand outlets (EBOs) in the UK and Europe, we will be expanding to other emerging markets soon.

We are targeting a 60 per cent growth in turnover at about Rs 120-150 crore this fiscal.
http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2013-08-06/news/41131852_1_pavers-england-utsav-seth-footwear-industry

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