V-Mart to set up 15 stores in FY '11

Tags: India, V-Mart, Retail
Delhi-based value retail chain V-Mart has said it plans to set up 15 new stores in small Indian towns in the next fiscal.

"We plan to open 15 more stores in the coming fiscal," V-Mart Chairman and Managing Director Lalit Agarwal told PTI here.

V-Mart has raised Rs 10 crore from internal accruals and debt to set up eight stores in the first quarter of fiscal 2010-11 in Begusarai, Basti, Dahej, Faizabad, Ratlam, Moradabad, Shahranpur and Balia, Agarwal said.

He, however, did not divulge details about the investment required to set up the remaining stores.

The company plans to add three lakh sq ft to its existing over four lakh sq ft in FY 11.

V-Mart now plans to consolidate, re-strategise its expansion, negotiate rentals and reduce inventory to cut costs, Agarwal said.

The seven year-old retail chain, which opened its first store in Ahmedabad in 2004, at present has 52 mid-sized hypermarts (10,000 sq ft) across 45 Tier II and III cities.

V-Mart, which retails products including FMCG, apparel, footwear, luggage, home furnishings and crockery, also manufactures some of them.

When asked why he was not aggressively expanding like some of his peers, Agarwal, a first cousin of Ram Chandra Agarwal, who heads debt-ridden Vishal Retail, said he has learnt lessons from the mistakes committed by them and does not want to repeat them.

"I don't want to commit the mistakes of my peers. I want to consolidate first instead of going on an expansion spree. We need to first understand market dynamics and find out the reasons why big-format stores are not a huge success here," Agarwal said.

Vishal Retail is now under a corporate debt restructuring (CDR) programme and is scheduled to meet its creditors regarding the same on March 30. The company has 150 stores.

According to him, Vishal Retail's problems have emanated due to rapid expansion and high inventories. The company opened stores across the country and sold over 20,000 items which made its supply-chain management complex, he said.

"One should expand, then consolidate before expanding again. One's supply-chain has to be strong, which will help in having a healthy bottomline," Agarwal said.

The Aditya Birla Group's private investment (PE) arm, which has invested in V-Mart, has suggested that it focus more on the cities it was present in rather than expand footprint to new destinations, he said.

In July 2008, Aditya Birla PE picked up a 25 per cent stake for an undisclosed amount in V-Mart.

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