I am writing to you amidst extraordinary circumstances. The outbreak of COVID-19 duringthe last quarter of FY2020 disrupted lives and businesses across the world like never.Countries faced multiple issues even as they struggled to curtail the spread of the virus.In India too the pandemic has been spreading rapidly and extended lockdowns to containthe virus have disrupted the economy and livelihoods.
A difficult macro-economic environment and weak consumer sentiments impacted demand forjewellery while a significant rise in gold prices during the year compounded the impact.Gold prices jumped by approximately 24% during the year under review. Due to thecountrywide lockdown in the wake of the pandemic there were missed opportunities as yourCompany lost out on some key festive occasions like Akshaya Tritiya and Gudi Padwa and theongoing wedding season that normally witnesses large volumes of jewellery being purchased.These headwinds impacted revenues during the fourth quarter of the year and consequentlythe full year.
Bracing the crisis
The benefits accruing from the learnings and experiences of over 150 years across fivegenerations have made us adept in managing challenges and coming out stronger in the faceof every adversity. As we contended with the pandemic we accorded the safety of ourcustomers and employees as our topmost priority. Following the nationwide lockdown incompliance with the Government directives the operations at our corporate office allretail stores and manufacturing facilities remained suspended since the second half ofMarch 2020. We responded quickly and adopted a "Work from Home" policy for ouremployees by leveraging technology and managing all our critical back-end operationsremotely.
During the lockdown having recognised the need to provide our customers a safe secureand user-friendly environment we offered them online buying platforms to help them remainin touch and fulfil the need for continued customer engagement. To enable our customersshop from the safe premises of their homes we introduced shop via video call andpersonalised digital brochures. We created opportunities for them to interact with us andbrowse through our wide range of collections with personalised attention. We alsolaunched our Rs.safe to shopRs. campaign using digital media.
This way without stepping out of their homes our customers could browse through ourjewellery select pay shop and visit the store to buy their favourite collections. OurKalpavruksha Easy Pay plan which enables customers to make monthly payments and purchasejewellery at a later date has also been fully digitised. The above initiatives enabled usto remain well positioned to take advantage of the rebound in consumer buying as and whenthat happens.
How we performed
During the year under review despite the challenging circumstances at a macro-levelour performance has been encouraging. Total Income from Operations stood at Rs.1810.05 crores compared to Rs. 1763.82 crores in the previous year. EBITDA stoodat Rs. 111.56 crores compared to Rs. 73.80 crores a 51.17% rise YoY; whileEBITDA margin was 6.16% as compared to 4.18% in the previous year. Profit after Tax stoodat Rs. 21.94 crores in comparison with Rs. 15.31 crores rising by 43.32%from the previous year. Barring March which was impacted by the lockdown the Companyachieved a Same Store Sales growth of 8%.
We adopted a pragmatic approach during the year to navigate these turbulent times. Wecut down on our overheads by eliminating or curtailing the non-essential expenditureundertook austerity measures leveraged technology to the fullest and optimally stretchedour available resources. An efficient working capital management helped us achieve asubstantial overall reduction in working capital debt.
We have been making concerted efforts towards judicious inventory management and rightsizing the same for both gold and diamond segments and in improving our mix to enhanceprofitability. We reduced our gold inventory by almost 22% in terms of volumes during theyear. In order to counter the impact of stores closure during the lockdown we focussed onconserving cash and maintaining a stable liquidity position.
In terms of our marketing efforts apart from the tech based innovations mentionedearlier we successfully launched our bridal collection Riwayat and the affordable diamondjewellery collection Sitara. Our brand ambassador Ms. Sara Ali Khan will feature in morecampaigns thus endorsing the brand across India.
Customer Connect and becoming Future-Ready
We place great emphasis on customer connect direct and transparent communication andprompt customer service. In order to serve our customers better we have been allocatingmore towards investments in technology and thereby remaining connected with them at alltimes. Our E-shop which will soon be live will enable us reach customers currentlyoutside our geographical presence. Our emphasis is on marketing and branding initiativesto widen the customer base and reinforce the Rs.TBZRs. brand in India.
Our range of affordable yet intricate diamond jewellery at lower price points willhelp the brand connect with uninitiated customers and also enable fulfil the aspirationsof Gen Next to own an exquisite piece of the TBZ range of jewellery. With these strategicinitiatives coupled with our pipeline of designer collections we are confident ofrecording higher eyeballs and footfalls thereby increasing our customer base which willhelp generate higher revenues.
While we remain very hopeful that the effects of the pandemic shall gradually wear offand complete normalcy will be restored sooner than later we expect revenues to pick upgradually as the year progresses. With a brand that is agile we are confident of emergingunscathed from the current challenging times.
Once the pandemic subsides we expect gold to be amongst the first of the asset classesto witness consumer appetite. We are looking forward to the forthcoming wedding seasonthis year. With several weddings having been postponed during the lockdown the upcomingseason will witness a significant pent-up demand for jewellery. During times ofuncertainty consumersRs. migration to brands gets accelerated and we are confident thatwith TBZ being amongst the most preferred retail jeweller in India we will witnesscustomer buy-in despite uncertain gold prices.
The advent of the festive season will also increase revenue generating opportunities.With contemporary designs customer-friendly tech interventions and a well-trained andmotivated sales team we remain well poised to take advantage of the rebound in consumerbuying in the months to come. These competitive advantages also give us the capabilitiesto face the turbulent times and witness sustainable and profitable growth as the marketsituation improves.
Going forward our focus will remain on consolidating our position creating value andachieving profitable growth. We remain steadfast in our commitment to follow a customercentric business philosophy to generate the highest value for our stakeholders. As weprogress into FY2021 we have embarked on an exciting journey in the face of unprecedentedadversities with a commitment to set industry benchmarks through best-in-class designs andto delight our customers and keep up with the changing trends.
We aim to leverage our expertise to drive customer-friendly innovations andcommunication. We shall remain dedicated to design jewellery that is exquisite yetaffordable and easily accessible to the countryRs.s youth to satiate their aspirations aswell as meet the demands and expectations of the discerning buyers.
Cost optimisation enhanced productivity and increasing margins will continue to be ourarea of focus. We shall continue our strategy of right sizing our inventory to sustainprofitability amidst the prevailing economic downturns. Further we shall augment ourvirtual presence by making strategic investments in technology and through our marketingand branding campaigns.
Safety of our customers and employees will always be accorded the highest priority.Investing in learning & development of our employees and facilitating trainingopportunities for them will ensure organisational agility and adaptability amidst anincreasingly competitive business landscape.
Before I conclude I take this opportunity to express my sincere gratitude andappreciation of the constant support of our shareholders and other stakeholders ourcustomers and our dedicated team.
Chairman & Managing Director