New Delhi, May 29 (PTI) The second wave of the pandemic impacted customer footfall and decelerated growth towards the end of March quarter but the economic activity is expected to pick up gradually after June, Aditya Birla Fashion and Retail Ltd (ABFRL) said.
The company is working towards strengthening its supply chain and digital back-end as it expects e-commerce play to outpace the growth of previous years across all its brands, said ABFRL in its updates on the impact of COVID.
Besides its network expansion, plans shall be “aggressive” in order to increase its reach deeper and wider into the country, it added.
“We are hopeful that the festive season performance shall be as good as last year levels and customers will have a safer shopping experience. We expect the economic activity to pick up gradually over the upcoming months post Q1 FY 22,” the Aditya Birla Group firm said.
Lockdowns this time are more localised and as cases fall they may become relaxed and restricted to only a few parts of the country while the rest of the cities would start opening up, it added.
These restrictions in large parts of the country including Maharashtra, Delhi, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, etc. dramatically impacted the footfall in stores towards the end of the fourth quarter, it said.
As on May 25, 2021, ABFRL’s 419 stores, out of a total network of 3,212 stores were operational.
ABFRL, the country’s largest pure-play fashion company, has a repertoire of market leading brands such as Louis Philippe, Van Heusen, Allen Solly and Peter England besides its value retail brand Pantaloons.
“As we are allowed to resume our operations post easing of lockdowns, we are prepared for opening each store with utmost precautions, implementing highest standards and protocols on safety and hygiene to make them absolutely safe for our consumers,” it added.
ABFRL reported widening of its net loss to Rs 196 crore in January-March 2020-21 as against Rs 147 crore in the year-ago period.
Total revenue from operation was marginally down to Rs 1,822 crore during the quarter under review as against Rs 1,832 crore in the same period of 2019-20.
Though the company expects a delay in normalisation, it is “tirelessly working” towards strengthening its supply chain and digital back-end.
“Our e-commerce play is expected to outpace the growth of previous years across all its brands. The investments in Hyper-local, WhatsApp commerce and mobile apps shall grow their contribution significantly to sales,” it said.
ABFRL has “refreshed” its product designs and focused on higher casualisation of brands to fit the market context with people working from home.
“Our portfolio of brands has re-invigorated their offerings and would continue to fulfill the fashion needs of our consumers,” it said.
ABFRL said it had an astounding recovery in performance through second and third quarters in the last fiscal year after the lockdown.
“Fuelled by weddings and renewed consumer optimism, the business grew strongly between January and February 2021, as against the same period in FY20,” it said. PTI KRH ANU ANU