Bindu D. Menon, Financial Express
August 28, 2023
Calvin Klein, Levi’s, Adidas and Lacoste are among the several players who are looking to tap the potential of Outlet malls, which are generally located on the peripheries of cities and major highways. These malls are fast replacing the old factory outlets of major brands, which were located in the cities in crowded places.
Real estate developers are also strategically choosing such locations to attract a wider customer base. Value-driven customers are thronging to such malls as it offers branded products at a discounted price ranging from 30-70%.
A few companies FE spoke to said Outlet malls are refined version of factory outlets and companies are able to generate revenue by liquidating stocks at a lower price.
Outlet Malls are a concept popular in the international market and are a huge hit among travellers. They are typically large group of shops outside city periphery that sell apparel, shoes and luggage at a discounted price. In the last decade, Outlet malls have sprung all over the country especially adjoining highways.
In New Delhi’s Jasola district, Pacific Premium, real estate firm has opened premium shopping space. Pacific Group operates around six malls spread across Delhi and Dehradun. Its new premium outlet mall is its largest to date and has four storeys and sizeable parking area.
The mall houses aspirational brands such as Birkenstock, Tommy Hilfiger, CalvinKlein, Levi’s, Adidas, Madame, Lacoste, Vero Moda and American Eagle among others. Other leading brands such as Nykaa and CaratLane, too have signed lease for occupying mall space.
Players like Village Groupe are developing mixed use development space in off location like Khapoli on Mumbai-Pune highway, Ludhiana and even Jaipur highway. A company disclosure says that it is developing over 500,000 sq feet mixed use space off-city limits.
“Outlet malls are a great opportunity for consumers who want to get the touch and feel experience. To that they offer brands at a discounted price is huge attraction for consumers,” said Susil S Dungarwal, promoter, Beyond Squarefeet Advisory, a mall management advisory firm.
Asked if online companies will pose a challenge to Outlet malls, Dungarwal says that there is no competition. “Outlet malls are an impulse destination. A consumer may be travelling along a highway, a good mall with discounted brands will be sure shot attraction,” he said adding growth in private vehicles has given a shot in the arm to Outlet malls.
“Till mid 1990s only 20% of vehicles on highways were private vehicles (cars and buses) and the rest were commercial vehicles (trucks and lorries). However, in 2023, almost 60% of the vehicles on highways are private vehicles,” he said.
Devangshu Dutta, Founder, Third Eyesight, said, “Outlet (discount) stores sit at the confluence of a mutual need. Branded chains with excess inventory to liquidate which they don’t want to carry at their primary stores, and consumers who want lower prices for their purchases”.
He points that outlet malls can offer brands some of the same advantages as regular malls, in terms of acting as footfall magnets, and offer shared services, but at lower costs due to a cheaper location.
“Rather than creating their own standalone outlet stores, brands can take up spaces in an outlet mall. The challenge of maintaining and managing footfall is shifted to the mall. However, as with regular malls, outlet malls need to be located well and need to be also managed well,” he added.
According to consultancy firm Anarock, top cities have over 51 million sq feet of mall stocks across the country with Delhi-NCR, Mumbai Metropolitan Region and Bengaluru accounting for 62% of the total stock.
(Published in Financial Express)
New Delhi, 23 August 2023
Bindu D. Menon, Financial Express
Tata Group’s Titan Company is not the only one to be bullish on the fine jewellery segment by recently raising its stake in CaratLane from 71.09% to 98.28% for a consideration of Rs 4,621 crore. Other corporate groups as well as private equity firms who have entered this segment are making investments and scaling up.
For instance, recently, Aditya Birla Group entered the gold jewellery market with the launch of Novel Jewels with an estimated investment of Rs 5,000 crore. It also plans to launch large-format jewellery formats and in-house brands.
“The younger generation’s changing style preferences and shopping habits have favoured the growth of jewellery chains and a shift in jewellery designs to lighter, more contemporary styles. This has also facilitated the delinking of the cost and the product price to some extent,” said Devangshu Dutta, Founder, Third Eyesight.
Analysts following the sector said that lighter weight jewellery have been a game changer for the industry. Moving away from the traditional 22 carats jewellery line, younger consumers are opting for 12, 14 and 18 carat jewellery in minimalist designs; a trend largely mimicked from the western markets.
From the companies’ perspective gross margins are invariably higher in design enhanced jewellery as compared to traditional designs.
Leading silver jewellery brand Giva jewellery too had recently bagged a Rs 200 crore funding led by Premji Invest to expand its product line. The round also saw participation from existing investors such as Aditya Birla Ventures, Alteria Capital and A91 Partners. Giva reportedly launches 250 new designs every month, as per the company’s disclosure.
“We look forward to leveraging Premji Invest’s playbook on omnichannel across several consumer brands and retail businesses to strengthen our leadership position and establish our pan India presence,” said Ishendra Agarwal, founder and CEO, Giva.
Giva plans to use the capital for inventory management and expanding its offline presence in India. The company has secured Rs 130 crore funding till date, excluding the current funding.
Fine jewellery in India are priced between Rs 5,000 to Rs 50,000. Major players in the segment include Caratlane, Tanishq, Bluestone among others.
(Published in Financial Express)
Suprita Anupam, Inc42
Jul 25, 2023
– Following a stock downgrade, Nykaa might lose some visibility among public market investors at a time when competition in the beauty ecommerce space is intensifying
– Nykaa, which has been the most popular beauty marketplace, has had to fight off Reliance Tira, Flipkart-owned Myntra, Tata CLiQ and others but has to invest heavily in omnichannel and private label expansion
– As its profitability and traction have declined, Nykaa needs to fix things for the long run without losing too much money as it does not have the capital reserves similar to its rivals
In the first week of July, the Nykaa stock took a significant hit, falling 42% from its 52-week high. Further, the Association of Mutual Funds in India (AMFI) downgraded the stock, dropping it from the top 100 listed companies in the country. As of now, the company is ranked somewhere between 101 and 250 on the market capitalisation threshold.
From a near monopoly in the beauty ecommerce space, Nykaa has lost its top spot. Not to mention, new competition, in the form of D2C brands and behemoths such as Tata and Reliance, has complicated the situation even more.
The downgrade by the AMFI means that Nykaa is no longer an attractive largecap stock in India, and this could have an impact on the company’s visibility in the near future.
So, what exactly triggered this collapse?
It was only in November 2021 that Nykaa’s INR 5,352 Cr IPO saw 82x subscription, the highest among large startup IPOs in India. Having withstood competition from marketplaces such as Amazon India and Walmart-backed Flipkart and Myntra, Nykaa seemingly set a new benchmark for Indian ecommerce startups with its blockbuster IPO.
But the last 20 months have been nothing short of disruptive. Reliance-backed AJIO has grown in stature, and the Indian conglomerate has also launched Tira in the beauty ecommerce space.
Meanwhile, Tata has also bolstered its beauty and personal care product assortment on its platform Tata CLiQ. Furthermore, the Tatas have added 20 beauty tech stores across the country, aligned with its ecommerce operations, while Myntra Beauty has registered 2X-3X growth in recent months and expanded its brand collection. Therefore, Nykaa needs to come up with something exceptional to compete with the aforementioned well-funded BPC contenders.
Adding to the company’s woes was the announcement of the issue of bonus shares in a 5:1 ratio and changes in key management personnel after a successful IPO. This did not go down well with investors. Bonus shares announcement was largely perceived as a way to keep the company’s anchor investors from offloading shares at the end of their IPO lock-in period.
Experts believe that amid declining year-on-year profitability, Nykaa could see a cash crunch as it prepares to combat with deep-pocketed corporations. For now, it will be interesting to see if Nykaa can hold onto its market share?
Nykaa’s Losing Its Footfall To AJIO & Myntra
First, let’s look at the bread-and-butter for ecommerce platforms such as Nykaa — that is visits, page views, engagement and repeat orders.
It must be noted that Nykaa has separate properties for fashion (Nykaafashion.com) and beauty (nykaa.com). If we look at the performance over the last 3-4 months, the fashion vertical has definitely seen some gains, but Nykaa.com itself has experienced negative growth in total visits.
The flagship property is bleeding users due to an ever-intensifying competition, which is quite clear in the graph given below.
Further, Nykaa, Nykaa Man and Nykaa Fashion have the lowest numbers when it comes to average visit durations.
On the ecommerce front, Nykaa has a lot of catching up to do against its competitors. Some of Nykaa’s private labels — take Dot&Key for instance — have become popular discounted items on Myntra, AJIO, Amazon India and other marketplaces, which shows that the company is forced to use its competition to sell its products.
In contrast, Myntra, AJIO, Tira and Amazon’s private labels are largely walled inside their respective marketplaces. To beat the competition and stay in the public spotlight, Nykaa has opted for the omnichannel strategy, and it is looking to add brand-owned stores on the retail front. But here too, the competition is stiff.
Nykaa Faces Challenges With Its Online-To-Offline Strategy
When we look at the omnichannel operations, Nykaa has 145 physical stores, 38 fulfilment centres, and 2,749 stores of its owned brands. The company plans to open more physical stores this year, according the announcements made in its last earnings call.
Nykaa’s founder and CEO Falguni Nayar had earlier said, “Physical retail is a necessary investment that we need to make, even if it adversely affects overall profitability. So, we are aiming for the optimal mix of online, offline, and duty.”
This is where the situation becomes more complicated. Being primarily an online platform, Nykaa has managed to stay lean and achieve profits thus far. However, opening more stores means more investments and a significant increase in operational expenditure, including higher employee expenses.
Plus, this entails entering into fierce competition with Tata and Reliance.
Reliance Retail alone has launched over 3,300 new stores in FY23 under its various brands, including Tira Beauty, Trends, and others.
Similarly, Tata has been a well-known name in the BPC and fashion industry. It introduced the first-ever cosmetics brand, Lakme Cosmetics, to India (later sold to Unilever). Tata has over 22 in-house labels for its Westside brand, which operates over 200 stores across the country.
While Tata plans to open 20 beauty tech stores, equipped with AI and VR, it already has 391 Zudio stores nationwide.
For Tata and Reliance, it is relatively easier to build an online business backed by their offline stores compared to Nykaa’s strategy of building an offline presence backed by online operations. These large conglomerates have years of experience in building retail brands in the offline space.
So, essentially, Nykaa seems to have lost ground in its strength areas of ecommerce and offline retail, as it is not as experienced as its rivals.
Speaking to Inc42, Devangshu Dutta, the founder and CEO of Third Eyesight, a boutique management consulting firm explained, “Apart from the impact of Covid, in the last 3-4 years, many brands have started moving offline because that’s where the bulk of the business happens. But moving offline means entering a completely different business. You’re not able to centralise inventory as much, and you may not be able to respond to market-specific segments as quickly.”
He also believes, like any other offline retail business, Nykaa will face high operational costs, but it has an advantage in the fact that it may be able to use data more effectively from its online operations. Nevertheless, this is a minor advantage.
“Your store locations have to be correct, and self-sustaining quickly, at least on a cash operating basis. At the business level you may look at profitability in a longer term,” Dutta added.
Profits Plummet: Nykaa’s Other Big Worry
India’s beauty and personal care market, presently valued at $16.8 Bn, is poised to grow at a compound annual rate of 11%, with cosmetics and perfumes categories growing at a faster clip.
According to a joint report by international beauty brand Estée Lauder and Gurugram-based business insights firm 1Lattice, a substantial portion of sales worth about $1.3 Bn are through ecommerce channels. This is expected to grow at a CAGR of 30% during FY22-27, followed by companies that retail beauty products in health and beauty stores and modern retail shops.
With 30% of India’s BPC market share, Nykaa has so far managed to stay ahead in the race. Nykaa’s beauty category (55% of the broad BPC category) saw 33% full-year growth with a GMV of INR 6,649 Cr. On the fashion side, the GMV grew 47% for the full year at INR 2,570 Cr.
BPC and fashion are the two mainstays of Nykaa’s business, even though fashion is a relatively new vertical for the Mumbai-based company. The company had earlier launched Nykaa Man, a separate platform for men’s grooming, beauty and fashion, but with less than 1 Mn visits, it has failed to grow over the last few years while AJIO has grown from 0-37 Mn users, as per analysts.
“At one end, Nykaa’s online PAT has been going down for the last two years, while Nykaa Fashion’s loss for the year has grown consecutively, putting Nykaa business in a fix,” said an analyst from PwC.
Nykaa needs to bring a balance between short-term losses and long-term profits. However, the company’s current strategy fails to show a way out, the analyst added.
The Balancing Act For Nykaa
As per the analyst quoted above, the company’s BPC products have so far had lower prices than Myntra and AJIO, where discounts are typically lower.
However, when compared to Amazon India and its long list of D2C brands and private labels, Nykaa products were slightly more expensive. Amazon also scored over Nykaa with its better supply chain and distribution.
Nykaa banked on product assortment, the assurance of quality and authenticity of products, but as more and more brands join Tira, AJIO and Tata CLiQ, this is also fast eroding.
Access to international brands is no longer exclusive to Nykaa, so it needs to tackle distribution and supply chain, where its rivals score heavily.
Giving Nykaa the benefit of the doubt, a consultant from brokerage firm Motilal Oswal recently said, “There is no clear playbook for these businesses. When Nykaa entered the segment, it was pioneering many aspects in India.”
However, now the company needs to exercise extreme caution regarding expenses and investments because of heavyweight competition with deeper pockets.
P Ganesh, chief financial officer at Nykaa, highlighted that the company still has funds remaining from the IPO, which will be utilised to secure future capital needs.
Ganesh added, “It’s worth noting that while we have observed a considerable increase in working capital as the company scales up, the number of working capital days is expected to stabilise. This means that the amount of funding allocated to working capital should moderate in the future.”
But analysts also believed that Nykaa cannot afford to sacrifice its market share in India’s rapidly growing beauty, personal care, and wellness segment. One thing that is advantageous for Nykaa is that Reliance-owned Tira is still new in the market and will take some time to get to critical mass adoption.
This is a window of opportunity for Nykaa to stretch its lead and fight off its rivals. Nykaa’s brand value primarily comes from its online business, so it must not let offline expenses hinder its online growth plans. However, given the competition, Nykaa is in a Catch-22 situation.
In the BPC segment, owned and private label brands play a vital role in increasing long-term profitability and repeat purchases. All of this will require extensive investment from Nykaa’s leadership — there are segments in BPC where Nykaa has no private label or owned brands.
As of now, the question remains: Can Nykaa maintain its dominance in the online market while facing fierce competition on multiple fronts?
(Published on Inc42)
Pooja Yadav, Afaqs
June 30, 2023
Over the last two-three years, we have seen technology innovations making its way into the Indian jewellery sector. Brands have been trying to transform the online jewellery segment by using various technologies like augmented reality (AR), artificial intelligence (AI), live video assistance, computer-aided design (CAD), computer-aided manufacturing (CAM), and more.
Despite the numerous innovations, the offline jewellery segment is still ahead of the online space, when it comes to sales. What makes the offline jewellery segment outpace the online segment?
The Indian e-commerce market is expected to grow to $111.40 billion by 2025 from $46.2 billion in 2020, as per an International Institute of Gemology report. While the segment remains to grow, what drives it back is the customer preference for physical jewellery stores.
Vipin Nair, marketing head & CRM at Malabar Gold & Diamonds, points out, “As of now, there seems to be no real alternative to trying on jewellery pieces in a retail store. Brands have been able to crack the logistics part, but not the ‘feel’ part. AR/VR has been around for a long time, but it doesn’t give you a feel of the jewellery pieces. It is a poor technology. The big purchases will continue to happen only in offline stores.”
Nair adds that despite the many challenges in the online space, it is now growing faster than before. “Earlier, there was a disconnect in the online segment. A customer had to wait for two-three weeks to receive a product. The online platforms seem to have cracked this business model, as whatever you like today, you can order and get it in a day’s time.”
Online jewellery segment started gaining popularity in 2020. In 2018, Tanishq started its e-comm website, and many other brands accompanied it in the online journey. What started with Tanishq has become a new journey for many start-ups and brands in the online space.
During Covid, the jewellery industry has been one of the worst-hit. Advent of online shopping and consumers relying on digital platforms during pandemic, helped brands strategise and invest more on online platforms.
According to Devangshu Dutta, founder and chief executive of Third Eyesight, trust is important when one is buying jewellery.
“It’s not a question of innovations. You can have virtual trials, whether it is online or in a store. But at the end, the customers have to see the piece and then buy it. Even if you are an online brand, you have to be able to offer an omnichannel experience. You have to enable in-home experience.”
As per Dutta, what’s required in this segment, is a change of mindset. “The share of online and modern retail will grow with time.”
Brands like Tanishq, Bluestone, Malabar, Kalyan Jewellers, Tata CLiQ, etc., are working on newer technologies. Then there are new players like the Aditya Birla Group that is set to foray into the branded jewellery retail business, with an investment of Rs 5,000 crore. The group’s new venture ‘Novel Jewels’ will have in-house brands in large-format exclusive retail stores across India.
Rashi Goel, founder and CEO, Performonks, says that the new brands entering the category, are trying to change the rules of the game. “These brands cater to working women, who want lighter, modern and fashionable pieces that they can match and wear with their outfits every day. So, the battle will be of brand building.”
“Tanishq offers light pieces, but tends to advertise heavy wedding jewellery, because that is in line with the category codes. The Aditya Birla Group will have to differentiate itself through the product experience. It will have to tell a brand story that takes the category narrative forward. If it is targeting young women looking for modern styles, it may benefit by having a direct-to-consumer (D2C) element (alongside retail stores in big cities). It could incorporate technology, where women can ‘try on’ jewellery virtually on the app.”
Citing the World Gold Council, Asian Lite International reports that there is a growing demand for lightweight and studded jewellery. Bridal jewellery alone accounts for at least half of the market share.
“Women prefer lightweight jewellery because it is practical and blends well with a modern lifestyle,” shares Nair of Malabar Gold & Diamonds.
Technology innovations may bring in some challenges, but they are also helping many people, in terms of convenience and choice. The online segment, which is still a fraction of the offline segment, is lately generating interest among digital savvy millennials.
Puneet Mansukhani, partner, KPMG in India, states that the online jewellery space has been garnering significant attention, especially amongst the millennials.
“Customer expectations are changing. Personalisation is playing a critical role. Technology involvement is increasing by the day, with AR taking the lead. However, the industry still has to tackle challenges around pilferage.”
On the upcoming trends, Mansukhani says, “Jewellery which is made to order with a modern look of hyper-personalisation (customised), is gaining importance, considering that value and convenience continue to be the top drivers of consumption.”
Manufacturers are increasingly focussing on producing lightweight pieces to satisfy the demands of young consumers, especially those who want to wear gold jewellery that matches with their western outfit every day, as per a World Gold Council report.
According to Third Eyesight’s Dutta, since fashion (lightweight) jewellery usually doesn’t cost much, “a consumer is not that invested in it. You can buy it online, like any other fashion product.”
The World Gold Council report adds that studded jewellery – known as ‘Polki’, ‘Kundan’ or ‘Jadau’ – has an estimated market share of 15-20%. The share of studded jewellery in North India is considerably higher. In South India, consumers are more inclined towards gold products, 60-70% of which are studded with diamonds and the remaining 30-40% are set with precious or semi-precious stones.
In India, jewellery was traditionally purchased for investment purposes. People used to believe in buying heavy jewellery. But now, there’s a shift towards versatility and contemporary jewellery.
Nair states, “Contemporary designs are getting a lot of traction lately. It was not the case 10-15 years back. Lightweight jewellery is now in vogue and heavy jewellery is restricted to occasions like weddings. People now are looking for something practical. They are more into the design, quality, etc.”
Will the changing consumer preferences impact the bridal jewellery market?
Bridal jewellery dominates the gold jewellery landscape, with 50-55% of market share. Indians usually purchase gold for two occasions – weddings and festivals.
Around 11-13 million weddings take place in India every year. With women marrying at an average age of 22 and more than half of the country’s population below the age of 25, the demand for bridal jewellery will remain strong over the long-term, as per the World Gold Council data.
The jewellery manufacturing landscape in India is largely unorganised and skill-intensive. Most jewellery pieces are still hand-crafted by artisans.
“Hence, the scale continues to be limited. Although we are gradually seeing jewellery retailers invest in large set-ups. We are also witnessing the overall jewellery market heading towards formalisation on the back of GST, government policies around hallmarking and exports,” shares Mansukhani of KPMG.
“For large players looking to enter this space, automation and focussing on in-house manufacturing, could help jewellers counter the high manufacturing charges.”
Raghavendra Kamath, Financial Express
June 29, 2023
Zara, touted as “Fast Fashion Queen”, has achieved a unique feat in India. The Spanish brand has been growing its revenues without opening any new stores.
The fashion brand, run by a joint venture between Tata-owned Trent and Spain’s retail group Inditex, posted a 40.7% growth in its revenues to Rs 2553.8 crore in FY23. The catch is that while many retailers/brands garner sales from opening new stores, Zara did not open any store but closed one during FY23.
In FY21 and FY22, its store count remained constant at 21 but its revenue grew 61.2% in FY22. Zara’s revenues grew at a 15.5 % CAGR in the last five years.
“Zara did not foray into any new city and closed one store. That said, it saw an exceptional performance on store productivity (83% higher than FY19). The increase in revenues lead to highest ever Ebitda margins at 16.3%,” said Nuvama Institutional Equities in a recent report.
The contribution in productivity includes contribution from online and also increase in store sizes, the brokerage said.
A mail sent to Inditex did not elicit any response. Trent executives could not be contacted.
Experts attribute Zara’s success to increase in customer spends and improved offerings by the brand.
“The customer base they are targeting has grown and their merchandise mix has become sharper,” said Devangshu Dutta, chief executive officer at Third Eyesight, a retail consultant.
Dutta said when a retailer opens stores, it would immediately boost sales, but to maintain sales momentum, one has to have “right merchandise at right price and have stores at right locations”.
Zara is known to churn its designs and styles very fast, and target young customers. In its Indian venture also, its parent Inditex controls merchandise mix and so on.
“The said entities (Zara and Massimo Dutti) are obliged to source merchandise only from the Inditex Group. Also, the choice of product & related specifications are at the latter’s discretion. Further, the entities are dependent on Inditex for permissions to use the said brands in India subject to its terms & specifications,” Trent said in its FY23 annual report.
Zara is also focusing on opening in select locations, a reason it could not open more stores in the country, experts said.
“The incremental store openings for Zara continue to be calibrated with focus on presence only in very high-quality retail spaces,” Trent said.
Susil Dungarwal, founder at Beyond Squarefeet, a mall management firm, said that propensity to spend has gone up among Indian shoppers after the pandemic and Zara being a renowned global brand with its stylish merchandise seems to be have been the beneficiary of the trend.
“They understand customers very well and brought products which are liked by Indian shoppers in terms of looks, styles and so on,” Dungarwal said.
Zara is a case study for Indian brands as to how to run a retail business successfully, he said.
(Published in Financial Express)