15 May 2018, 09:28 — 5 min read
Sudhanshu Agarwal, founder of Citykart Pvt. Ltd. observed that organised retail in the country was largely focused in tier 1 cities and some of the larger tier 2 cities. He felt that there was an opportunity in bringing this brand of retail to a wider gamut of smaller cities which have growing spending power and commensurate aspirations. Based out of New Delhi, Citykart today brings a modern shopping experience to the towns of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Nagaland and Assam. Executing this plan proved challenging but fruitful - the company had a turnover of around 200 crores in the last financial year. They expect 50% growth this year with the opening of 12 new stores. Average store size is 8000-10,000 sq. ft. and there are currently 26 stores catering to the entire range of fashion needs for men, women and children of all age groups.
In conversation with GlobalLinker (GL), Sudhanshu Agarwal (SA) shares his business journey.
GL: Tell us about your business and how it came into being.
SA: Citykart Pvt. Ltd. is a company that primarily deals in apparels and general merchandise covering the small towns of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Nagaland and Assam in India with a focus on middle-lower income groups. The company offers wide range of fashion garments for all age groups including basic household articles. With an average store size of 8,000-10,000 sq. ft., the company currently operates 26 stores and sells clothes, accessories and footwear for men, women and children.
A national shift towards organised retail, improved business models, changing demographics, and rising per capita income has cemented our trust in serving this target group and geography. In spite of being the most populous part of the country, tier 2 and 3 cities and towns are highly under-penetrated in terms of organised retail. Basically, these are the places where people have newly increased purchasing power and aspire for an enhanced shopping experience. At Citykart, we have witnessed a definite shift of consumers from unorganised to organised retail, and we are confident about serving this segment.
The company is growing at a CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rate) of 30-40% and closed its last financial year with a turnover of around 200 crores. With an expectation to grow by 50% in the current fiscal year, the company is envisaging 12 new stores this year.
GL: What are some of the innovative things you are doing at your stores?
SA: The north-east area of India is not as developed despite the presence of an aspirational population. We are trying to bring consumers there, modern fashion and shopping facilities like personalised customer service, sensory experience, advertisements, usable benefits like redemption of points and e-vouchers, product combination, free-gift assurance.
Within the organisation, which is a significant employer, we invest in training of learning new technologies for the staff. Employees are rewarded with incentives whenever they achieve the given target and career advancement opportunities to the best performer. We bring a democratic leadership style which is typical of modern corporates to our cities of operation.
GL: What are the challenges you have faced in establishing your business?
SA: The main challenges I have faced in establishing this business are a lack of skilled manpower, an unorganised supply chain, unavailability of resources at initial stage, absence of healthy competition, inadequate distribution channels, lack of information and employee attrition.
GL: How did you hear of GlobalLinker? How has it helped you?
SA: GlobalLinker is an excellent way to network with fellow entrepreneurs and gain business insights and knowledge. I heard about it from our association with the Retailer Association of India (RAI).
GL: What is your big business dream?
SA: I want to tackle and resolve issues in the retail industry by strengthening the procurement of apparel merchandise and general merchandise, which is the backbone of our retail. My objective is to provide modern retail facilities (like air conditioning, trial rooms, exchange policy, toilets etc.) at affordable prices by focusing on family fashion and value-for-money products addressing all age groups.
GL: What is your message to aspiring entrepreneurs?
SA: You must sell what you expect to buy as customer instead of what you want to sell. Also, believe that the expense on training is an investment, not wastage.
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Posted byGlobalLinker Staff
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