EMERGING STRONGER THROUGH THE CRISIS
In every adversity lies an opportunity' is an age-old adage onethat holds true for the current COVID-19 situation. While the crisis tested the limits ofeconomies and businesses alike it has also provided everyone with opportunities toreflect and reconsider innovate and accept as well as reconnect and help. It was nodifferent for us at Shoppers Stop. We utilised this time to rethink reimagine and build abetter and stronger business.
The pandemic has drastically changed customer behaviour. There has beenan acceleration in the shift to online shopping and an increased need for omni-channel. Weleveraged the power of digital to deliver value to our customers and are deploying digitalfor better decision-making understanding customer behaviour and improving efficiency.
As the pandemic spread our priority was the safety of our employeesand customers. We immediately set up safety protocols across our stores and ensured thatour people followed them. To assure our customers of their safety while shopping with uswe even released a video documenting all the precautionary measures undertaken by us. Tooffset the effects of the pandemic we had to shift our financial focus. The priority wasto secure the Company's liquidity and continue financial stability. We undertook costoptimisation initiatives and strengthened our balance sheet through infusion of ShareCapital. This helped us maintain steady momentum on liquidity and improved our financialperformance.
The pandemic has drastically changed customer behaviour. There has beenan acceleration in the shift to online shopping and an increased need for omni-channel. Weleveraged the power of digital to deliver value to our customers and are deployinganalytics for better decision-making understanding customer behaviour and improvingefficiency. It has helped us adapt to the rapidly changing buying behaviour of ourcustomers. We also updated our website and app to provide a convenient experienceregardless of the shopping location.
While the pandemic accelerated digital transformation it also reducedconsumers' propensity to spend mainly due to income losses and the reducedneed for products such as professional clothing and festive outfits. The biggestchallenge that retailers would face is to bring the customer back and make them feel safein the stores. At Shoppers Stop we are already at the top of our game and are reimagingshopping with services such as Endless Aisle Click-and-collect and Snap. Find. Buy. Itis still early to take stock of the impact of the pandemic which is not completely behindus. However we have definitely learned a great deal during these trying times. It taughtus that agility is the way forward it is crucial to be able to adjust and adapt tochanging market conditions that affect demand supply chains and working methods. Wemanaged to do so by closing our stores when needed and opening them in a phased mannerwhile adjusting our supply chains and sales channels. We have robust plans in place tooptimise our inventory levels expand our stores upgrade our customer interface andintegrate customer action on all channels. I believe these prudent steps will allow us tomake the most of the opportunities that arise and manage the ongoing situation.
I would like to extend my deepest gratitude to each and every member ofthe Shoppers Stop family. Although the challenges were substantial you have showndetermination and acted swiftly to ensure a seamless shopping experience for ourcustomers.
As I conclude I would like to congratulate and welcome Mr. Venu Nairas MD and CEO of Shoppers Stop. His rich experience in the retail and apparel industry issure to bode well for the future of the Company.
I would like to assure all our stakeholders that with your support andfaith in us we will weather this storm emerge stronger and continue to march forth onthe path of success.