The year 2020 proved to be an extraordinary year for the entire human race. Not one ofus managed to remain unaffected by a global pandemic which tested the mettle ofbusinesses and individuals right down to the survival for many.
It was a year where thousands lost their loved ones; lost jobs or had to survive onmeagre pay. It was a time for rediscovery by many businesses what they were andwhat they could become in such uncertain times. As the events played out we as anorganisation were focussed on what we could do to serve our customers partnersemployees and the community at large. I am happy to say that notwithstanding the gravechallenges your Company did not just sustain the business but moved resolutely forwardon its expansion and growth plans. Despite challenging times the Company's results for FY2020-21 are encouraging. They validate the strength of our visionary strategic approachwhile also enabling us to ensure continued stakeholder trust in the organisation. They arean endorsement of our ability to do more with less a feat we accomplishedeffectively in the challenging industry environment. They reflect our success inleveraging our lean inventory model and omnichannel approach to deliver better outcomeswith minimal investments. Our goal has been to create value for all stakeholders; for theentire ecosystem in fact. I believe that if we do not create value no matter howimpressive we might appear on the surface we arent really touchinglives and making a resounding impact on the society at large. This ultimatelyaffects our long-range business prospects our very survival. Be it our employeesatisfaction business partners faith customers trust or our stock pricethere is a tangible value assigned to all. It is this value Im talking of and whichwe keep improving year-on-year.
Based on this we continued to make significant investments in our products rangetechnology and people all the while maintaining a disciplined credit and an encouragingbalance sheet. Despite the complexities of the new COVID-19-induced realities we did nothold back on our strategic plans and execution processes during FY 2020-21. On thecontrary with the active collaboration of our stakeholders we went on to actively pursueour goals. In fact we even accelerated in certain areas like digital and capabilitydevelopment. And we stayed decisively on course with our long-term plans for sustainablegrowth and value creation trics which the investors for our stakeholders opening 20 newstores during the year. Our efforts translated into a fair/ relatively strong performancedespite the challenges that impacted the year. The Company reported a full-year income ofRs 109650.04 lakhs - recovering to 66% of the last years base.
Despite lower operating days reduced topline and marginalised savings due to largelyfixed cost structures the Y-o-Y EBITDA recovery remained high at 61% with 12.2%vs. 12.9% EBITDA reported for FY 2019-20. Though footfalls fell by 48% Y-o-Y an 14%expansion in basket size and increased customer conversions helped drive revenue recovery.
A major highlight of the year was our Fund raise through QIP in February 2021. That theQIP was oversubscribed about 6 times in the pandemic situation stands testimony to theunderlying confidence of investors in V-Marts credentials and capabilities. Thesuccessful signing up of several prestigious global and Indian investors in these criticaltimes after fulfilling their rigorous due diligence standards underscores the depth ofour strategic and operational execution excellence. It is an endorsement of the robustnessand long-term sustainability of your Companys business model and strong financialtrust. The cash reserves that we have built with the QIP fund raise will enable us tofast-track our planned expansion projects including construction of our future-ready andnew warehouse.
On behalf of the Board I would like to assure our investors as well as our customerspartners and other stakeholders that V-Mart will stay true to its core values tofurther strengthen its trust quotient. I would also like to thank all our employees whocontinued to extend their unwavering support for the realisation of V-Marts businessgoals in these testing times. Herein I particularly remember one of our store associatesin Patna Rani Singh. I recall how she always had a smile on her face despite the toughCOVID protocol. Travelling on foot over five kilometres to work daily in the absence ofpublic transport during the peak pandemic she symbolises the grit and spirit of allV-Martians who continued serving our customers during these hard times. Some evenvolunteered to personally deliver products at customers' doorstep in severely affectedareas.
I recall how overwhelming it was personally interacting with those employees overtelephone calls who lost their loved ones or had to face major hardships due to thepandemic. Each and every one of those phone calls made me appreciate the true valour ofthese warriors who refused to let times defeat their spirits.
To all our employees I would like to extend my appreciation and assurance that V-Martshall continue to nurture your faith by providing you a culture of safety well-beingmotivation and inspiration which enabled the Company to retain the title of Great Placeto Work during the year.
Let me share with you all some details of how we successfully negotiated thetribulations of the year to surge forward on our strategic journey of how we responded andrenewed in line with the approach we had taken at the start of the pandemic in FY 2019-20.
HOW WE RESPONDED
The seamless roll-out of our business continuity plan enabled us to successfullyembrace the various challenges during the year. From ensuring employee and customersafety to sustaining business operations and gearing up for post-pandemic recovery weensured continuing engagement and collaboration with each of our stakeholder groups. Thisapproach enabled us to deliver an effective and agile response to the transformingecosystem. Despite extended periods of negligible cash inflow due to the lockdown in early
FY 2020-21 the Company stood by its employees. The Company honoured its financial andother stakeholders in every way thus reinforcing its strong trust ethos. We also enhancedour focus on sustainable business practices through more environment-friendlyinitiatives along with stringent safety compliances. Despite all the challenges facedduring the year we managed to keep our sustainability quotient high.
Employee & customer safety: We implemented well-formulated hygiene and socialdistancing SOPs at the stores and the workplaces to maintain a high level of safetyculture across the organisation. We also instituted a 24x7 helpline to help employees copeup with COVID-related emergencies and give them mental strength. We also extended avariety of medical financial essential supplies assistance to all our employeesand their families suffering from COVID-19. To ensure their mental well-being we alsostarted imparting motivational training and counselling sessions for employees. At thesame time even amid the closure of offices during the lockdown periods we managed tokeep our back-office teams operational through effective work-from-home arrangements.
We went on serving our customers amid the restrictions by reaching out to fulfil theirrequirements in various creative ways. We identified weekly Haats and Bazaars in ruralareas and 'brought the store to the customer' with our 'V-Truck' initiative. Trucks withour products were sent to such rural areas to enable people to buy what they wanted. Thisnot only led to higher overall sales for the stores but also facilitated new customeracquisition in such areas.
Rural belt folk responded with enthusiasm to our V-Truck initiative as it offers themconvenience in the absence of adequate transportation facilities to the cities and helpsthem avoid being charged higher by local shopkeepers.
Broader ecosystem: We maintained cordial relations with all our landlords andvendors during the disturbed period of the lockdown. With our vendors business partnersand local communities central to our strategic plans we initiated several measures toreach out to them more effectively. Our collaborative partnerships which includedequitable commercial arrangements helped equip our vendors and other partners in thevalue chain to maintain supply chain continuity in the restrictive business environment.This enabled the Company to quickly revive and scale up operations as stores opened afterlockdowns were eased.
On the fiscal front our prudent approach and risk-mitigation strategy enabled theCompany to be cash positive. This equipped the organisation with sufficient workingcapital arrangements to meet its operational requirements on a sustained basis. Cognisantof our social responsibility in these critical times we also augmented our CSR outreachand budget estimates to support more and more vulnerable people impacted by the pandemic.Besides helping set-up of a 300-bed COVID care facility in Gurugram we helped inarrangement of Oxygen concentrators ventilators plasma and medication supplies. At thepeak of lockdown last year we supported 1.25 lakhs beneficiary families by free fooddistribution to help them wade through that tough phase. Our employees created groupswithin themselves on their own accord. This was to help the needy and the sufferingduring the pandemic's peak last year by way of medical aid essential items etc.
HOW WE RENEWED
The unprecedented shutdowns and restrictions gave us the opportunity to review andrenew our core business processes during the year. We made a strategic shift to startfocussing more aggressively on quicker mind-to-market strategies in fashion apparelswhile boosting our private label offerings. New product quality enhancement and vendorprogrammes were initiated to sharpen the fashion quotient of our portfolio. The focus wason improved quality and cost efficiencies.
We also started the process of revitalising our Omnichannel platform through creativeand compelling products and shopping experience aimed at boosting our overall sales goingforward. We augmented our digital proposition to deliver a more engaging experience to ourcustomers business partners employees and other stakeholders. This also helped us keepour ears close to the ground and create products that are relevant to the consumerschanging needs and resonate with their aspirations. Our launch on the marketplaceecosystem of online retail has opened up new avenues.
Our thrust is on rethinking how we can deliver more value to our customers in a saferand more convenient manner without excessive expenditure. Our endeavour is to realign ourproduct assortment pricing and channels to what they need the most at the moment.Innovative store branding attractive designs impactful marketing campaigns and multiplepromotional offers were developed during the year to drive footfalls and sales especiallyduring occasion and season-linked shopping. E-learning initiatives were launched to alignour employees quickly and effectively to the new business norms.
No doubt the path ahead remains fraught with challenges but we are confident that weshall continue on the course of expansion and growth in the years ahead. Our debt-free andcash-rich balance sheet as well as the launch of new formats will continue to drive ourstrategic plans. We believe that as the economy starts lifting back to normalcy we shallonce again see a resurgence of the consumers pent-up demand. This we feel willdrive them towards retail stores they trust. We are optimistic that value-led offeringswhich are central to our proposition will draw consumers to V-Mart stores in even biggernumbers than before.
To drive cash preservation our focus will be around further optimising resourcesoperating costs and exploring innovative models. We are strategically focussed onsustaining the growth journey in our strong markets leveraging the unprecedented digitalpenetration and scaling up Omnichannel operations by introducing new offerings andexpanding our footprints across e-commerce marketplaces.
While the dynamic uncertainties may impact the stock price in short-term our record ofdelivering consistent performance over the years is the testimony of our commitment wherewe stand strong in long-term wealth creation for our stakeholders. Your Companyconsistently complies with corporate governance monitors and improves risk controlswhile diversifying its vast pool of talent and tech implementation.
The crisis has made us stronger and more resilient and coupled with the hard work ofthe team as well as our organisational capacity and capability we shall pursueaccelerated growth and reach greater heights in the years ahead. As Living withless becomes a necessity in times of financial hardship we at V-Mart shallcontinue to invest in innovative and newer ways of creating enhanced value for all ourstakeholders. We believe this will earn us even more trust and goodwill in the comingyears.
We will continue to make those investments we believe would give us a significant edgeand market leadership in the long term rather than solely focussing upon short-termgains. We will continue hiring nurturing retaining and grooming an exceptionally devotedworkforce. And yes we will continue our unwavering focus on customers by creatingcompelling experiences both at our stores and online.
We continue to experiment and expand to new horizons and take V-Mart to places whereit has never been before along with your enabling support. Further to safeguard theROCE and to enable future plans we are creating new avenues along with a tremendousdigital thrust. Post raising funds from the QIP our cash reserves have increased whichwill help us fueling the future expansion. We reiterate our commitment to deploy thesefunds prudently and productively to accelerate the long-term growth of the Company.
On this note on behalf of the Board I would like to once again thank all of you andwish you a safe and prosperous year ahead.
Chairman and Managing Director