Brick and mortar retailer Shoppers Stop is betting big on an omni-channel retail strategy -- a combination of physical stores and online site -- to grow its business and aims to be completely debt-free by the end of this fiscal.
The company, which exited non-core businesses last year by selling its stakes in Hypercity Retail, Timezone Entertainment Pvt Ltd and Nuance Group (India) Pvt Ltd -- its duty-free airport retailing joint venture -- said it will make focused and substantial investments to embrace new technologies and infrastructure for the omni-channel.
"We believe that these exits (divestment) will serve in giving us the eagle eye focus required to significantly scale-up our core-businesses while also dramatically change our balance sheet and thereby increase shareholder value. We aim to be completely debt-free by financial year 2018-19," Shopper Stop said in annual report for 2017-18.
It further said: "This year, the company shall focus on strengthening its e-commerce presence to build on the investments made over the last three years to drive more than 100 per cent sales growth, and to create seamless experiences across online and offline in order to drive digitally influenced store sales, as well as adoption of digital channels by store customers and on leveraging its partnership with Amazon."
The company said it believes that more consumers across the country will discover Shoppers Stop through its digital shopping channels.
Last year, Shoppers Stop raised Rs 179.25 crore from global e-commerce giant Amazon by issuing equity shares, amounting to 5 per cent stake, on preferential basis. Shoppers Stop now has an exclusive flagship store on the Amazon marketplace listing the company's portfolio of 400-plus brands.
"This alliance with Amazon.in will give a significant fillip to the growth of our omni-channel business, helping us to achieve our target of 10 per cent of overall sales from digital touch-points much quicker than we had anticipated.
Elaborating on its offline expansion plans, Shoppers Stop said: "We plan to open 4-6 department stores and 8-10 beauty stores each year for the next 3 years to reach a wider and broader footprint. Where our physical stores are not present, our online shopping site will give customers the joy of shopping at a single click. Our robust investment in omni-channel will continue steadfastly."
Shoppers Stop reduced its debt by Rs 508 crore during the year. At the beginning of the year 2017-18, the company had a debt of Rs 575.90 crore at standalone level and Rs 885.10 crore at consolidated level, which has been reduced to Rs 87.37 crore and Rs 125.34 crore, respectively.
At present, Shopper Stop has 84 stores across the country (including six airport stores) and 13 HomeStop stores.
For the financial year 2017-18, Shoppers Stop's standalone net profit was Rs 11.60 crore. It posted a net loss of Rs 19.93 crore in 2016-17. Its total income was down 1.90 per cent to Rs 3,607.50 crore in 2017-18 as against Rs 3,677.61 crore in the previous fiscal.
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