Top companies lead charge in retail’s expansion push


June 24, 2022

Written By Mukherjee, ET Bureau

Top listed retail chains such as Aditya Birla Fashion & Retail, Avenue Supermarts and Tata-owned Trent are going to lead store additions through the next financial year, as they double down on expansion after the pandemic, company executives and analysts said.

As per a recent report by ICICI Securities, 16.7 million square feet of retail space would be added by eight large, listed retail chains between FY21 and FY24 as compared to 8 million square feet added in the preceding four years of FY18-21. These companies also include Titan, Bata, V-Mart, TCNS and Shoppers Stop.

The buoyed sentiment comes after the recovery of retailers to more than their pre-Covid levels in the last two quarters, and is also driven by pentup demand, strong sales despite increasing prices and expansion into small-tier towns, the report said. There has been an expansion of the market which is happening along with a consolidation, said Devangshu Dutta, chief executive of consulting firm Third Eyesight. “Not all locations might turn out to be viable, but in every expansion cycle there are boom and bust. And the bust is not as big as the boom. Right now, we are in the expansion cycle,” he said.

Aditya Birla Fashion & Retail managing director Ashish Dikshit told analysts recently that the company would expand rapidly since plans were held up in the last two years due to the pandemic, with faster growth for fashion business, ethnic wear and inner wear. The company, which had raised ₹2,195 crore from GIC Singapore, intends to invest ₹600-800 crore for expansion in the next couple of years.

“…we continued to believe both in the long-term growth potential of the market and intrinsic strength of our brands and we feel now the time is to accelerate to catch up on what we have not done over the last 12 to 18 months and I would go back almost till the beginning of the Covid period from 18 to 24 months where some of our growth initiatives have held back,” said Dikshit.

As per the ICICI report, Avenue Supermarts would add 7.5 million sq ft during FY21-24 for the DMart stores as compared to 3.9 million sq ft added in FY18-21. Aditya Birla Fashion & Retail would add 3.1 million sq ft as compared to 1.2 million sq ft in preceding four years, while, among others, Trent would add 2.7 million sq ft (vs 1.5 million sq ft), Shoppers Stop would add 0.8 million sq ft (0.2 million sq ft) and Bata would add 0.7 million sq ft (0.2 million sq ft).

India’s largest retailer, Reliance Retail, too has accelerated expansion plans including taking its stores into new geographies, Gaurav Jain, head of strategy and business development told analysts recently.

Source: economictimes