India's Shoppers Stop targets double-digit FY revenue growth - CEO

By Praveen Paramasivam

CHENNAI (Reuters) - India's Shoppers Stop Ltd on Thursday said it expects its revenue to grow in double-digits this fiscal year, as the department store chain aims to bring in more brands and add two dozen stores.

The retailer seeks to open between 10 and 12 department stores and a similar number of beauty stores in the year ending March 2024, after launching a combined 23 stores last fiscal, Chief Executive Venu Nair told Reuters.

It ended the previous fiscal year with 270 locations.

Shoppers Stop, which is spread across 52 cities, is focusing on opening department stores in new locations, mainly in non-metro cities, Nair said.

Several apparel and footwear chains including Metro Brands Ltd and Arvind Fashions Ltd, which sells Calvin Klein in India, are also doubling down on smaller cities to tap the growing middle class.

With brands scrambling for workers to charge their expansion, Nair said labour availability is "an area which needs to be kept an eye on," with Shoppers Stop employing 40-100 workers at each of its department stores and 8-10 workers at all of its beauty outlets.

The company is also sharpening its focus on its beauty business, acquiring the exclusive distribution for 15 brands last year to cash in on the growing demand for skincare and makeup products from consumers returning to their post-pandemic lifestyles.

Shoppers Stop last month signed a distribution deal with Japan's Shiseido Co Ltd to launch its Nars Cosmetics in India.

However, Nair said sales in February and March were "muted," partly due to high inflation, although he said Shoppers Stop has recorded some improvements in the second-half of April.

He also added there could be some price cuts as apparel and textile raw material prices have come down in recent months.

Shoppers Stop on Wednesday swung to a quarterly profit, benefitting from demand for beauty products and higher margin private-label clothing.

(Reporting by Praveen Paramasivam in Chennai; Editing by Sonia Cheema)