Metro Shoes: Where the Medium is Shoe

Metro Shoes is the largest In­dian retailer of footwear and ac­ces­sories in the coun­try. It to­day boasts a chain of over 436+ show­rooms across 107 cities. In 2015, the com­pany en­tered into a busi­ness ar­range­ment with in­ter­na­tional footwear brand Crocs for o

Shoes & Accessories - - Content -

Give us an over­view of how much re­tail con­sol­i­da­tion you have achieved dur­ing the last few years. To­day the com­pany is the largest In­dian retailer of footwear and ac­ces­sories across In­dia. Metro Shoes Ltd to­day boasts a chain of over 436+ show­rooms across 107 cities. We have been open­ing 50+ stores per year for the last 3 years. Some of the renowned brands have teamed up with Metro Shoes. How sig­nif­i­cant change the as­so­ci­a­tion has brought? In 2015, the com­pany had en­tered into a busi­ness ar­range­ment with Crocs for op­er­at­ing Crocs EBOS pan In­dia. Cur­rently, there are to­tal of 64 stores across 48 cities. The ex­pan­sion plan for year 2018-19 is 35+ stores. Metro Shoes Ltd has man­aged to in­crease through­out In­dia Crocs’ stores by more than three times since be­com­ing its na­tional re­tail part­ner and has ex­e­cuted plans for ag­gres­sive growth of the brand in high streets, malls and air­ports.

In ad­di­tion, we re­tail sev­eral in­ter­na­tional brands in our stand-alone out­lets and are the largest seller of Clarks, Skech­ers etc in In­dia. We are con­sid­ered as a spring­board for any in­ter­na­tional brand look­ing to suc­ceed in the In­dian mar­ket.

How are the in-house brands per­form­ing in com­par­i­son with the global brands? What prod­ucts have shown best per­for­mance?

Our in-house brands have shown very healthy growth. Due to mar­ket con­di­tions and on­line dis­count­ing in­ter­na­tional brands have been fac­ing a lot of op­er­a­tional chal­lenges. Our in-house prod­uct has al­lowed us to ful­fil cus­tomers’ re­quire­ments as we source from do­mes­tic and in­ter­na­tional sup­pli­ers to cater to cus­tomer’s needs. Fast grow­ing cat­e­gories in­clude men’s pre­mium and ath­leisure for men and women. In ad­di­tion, we are see­ing good growth in the wed­ding col­lec­tions

Re­cently, we wit­nessed Metro open­ing more re­tail out­lets in South In­dia. Does Metro have a South In­di­afo­cused re­tail strat­egy at present?

The ex­pan­sion plan for Metro shoes is to­wards a ro­bust pan In­dia pres­ence

es­pe­cially in tier 2 and 3 cities. We eval­u­ate ex­pan­sion on a store-to­store ba­sis fac­tor­ing rentals, space avail­abil­ity, ease of do­ing busi­ness, emerg­ing mar­kets and com­pet­i­tive in­ten­sity.

What makes a Metro store dif­fer­ent from other MBOS?

Each Metro store is an estab­lish­ment in its own, show­cas­ing the best of footwear for the en­tire fam­ily. Be it ca­su­als, trendy, work wear, or dressy shoes for a wed­ding, the stores dis­play a var­ied range. Metro Shoes also pro­vides young tots with com­fort and style. With a strong com­mit­ment to fash­ion and cus­tomer ser­vice, Metro Shoes strives to be the lead­ing fash­ion footwear brand in the coun­try.

At Metro shoes we strongly be­lieve that cus­tomer is king, and shoes are just a medium for us to ser­vice our guests. Our front-line staff are our big­gest as­sets and the main brand am­bas­sadors of our com­pany. We work on en­hanc­ing their knowl­edge and skills by im­part­ing con­tin­u­ous and in­cre­men­tal train­ing by in-house as well as ex­ter­nal train­ers cov­er­ing cus­tomer cen­tric­ity, sales ca­pa­bil­ity, store man­age­ment and vis­ual mer­chan­dis­ing. At our core, we are an or­gan­i­sa­tion that be­lieves in con­tin­u­ous in­no­va­tion, be it in prod­uct or the ex­pe­ri­ence we give to our guest, no mat­ter where they in­ter­act with us. In to­day’s rapidly chang­ing en­vi­ron­ment, cus­tomers de­mand and taste must be catered to and that is what we con­tin­u­ously en­deav­our to do.

Re­tail space scarcity in the met­ros has been a ma­jor con­cern. How this has af­fected your strat­egy?

To­day most of the pre­mium malls levy very de­mand­ing terms and con­di­tions for space ac­qui­si­tion. The best malls across cities have dif­fer­ent pa­ram­e­ters to­wards al­lo­ca­tion of stores to spe­cific brands de­pend­ing upon their cat­e­gories. We try to be in con­stant touch with the mall leas­ing team as well as with lo­cal bro­kers to get the best pos­si­ble vis­i­bil­ity in­side the mall or even on the high street, we also pre­fer to wait in case of a good prop­erty which is al­ready oc­cu­pied by some other ten­ants in a quest to ac­quire the finest lo­ca­tion for our busi­ness and ROI from the said lo­ca­tion.

Our 430+ store launch ex­pe­ri­ence comes very handy in ne­go­ti­a­tion and a strong op­er­a­tion, busi­ness, project and le­gal team usu­ally helps us to gauge even the small­est de­tails of any lo­ca­tion short­listed by our op­er­a­tions team.

You have a strong on­line ecom­merce plat­form, given the re­cent ma­jor de­vel­op­ment in the seg­ment, what ma­jor de­vel­op­ment do you ex­pect?

On­line has emerged as a strong sales chan­nel. We are in­cor­po­rat­ing the data we get of cus­tomer pref­er­ences to mer­chan­dise more ef­fec­tively. We have in­vested sig­nif­i­cantly in our own in­fra­struc­ture for on­line sales. Wal­mart’s ac­qui­si­tion of Flip­kart is still a work in progress and we are wait­ing to see the im­pact that will have on the busi­ness. The con­sol­i­da­tion of on­line play­ers should in­crease the ease of busi­ness. How­ever, it may also bring strong in­ter­na­tional com­pe­ti­tion given the strength of Wal­mart sourc­ing. Go­ing for­ward we see on­line as an­other way to de­light our cus­tomers and will do what­ever nec­es­sary to be a mar­ket leader.

What changes do you ex­pect in the in­dus­try in the next few years? And where do you see Metro Shoes in it?

2018-2019 is go­ing to be the Har­vest Sea­son for om­nichan­nel. We at Metro shoes have in­vested in sys­tems to en­hance om­nichan­nel to help trans­late into grow­ing var­i­ous busi­ness seg­ments and en­hanced over­all prof­itabil­ity met­rics. Data and change man­age­ment will be key fac­tors for any retailer.

Sport life­style will con­tinue to rule in 2018. Re­cently, Metro Shoes hosted a sneaker festival where cus­tomers were given an op­por­tu­nity to cus­tomise their sneak­ers with the help of pro­fes­sional doo­dle artists who were made avail­able at se­lected Metro stores across the coun­try. This ac­tiv­ity saw an in­crease in pur­chase of sneak­ers amongst both men and women.

It is cre­at­ing these mo­ments of de­light that is go­ing to keep us as a pre­ferred des­ti­na­tion for our guest. We will be fo­cus­ing on ex­pe­ri­en­tial re­tail and be­com­ing the brand of choice in a com­pet­i­tive en­vi­ron­ment.

Farah Ma­lik Bhanji, MD, Metro Shoes

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