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Scaling Heights with Raymond A second generation businessman, Manik Mittal looked beyond his family business to get into retail. Having started off with a readymade garment store, he was quick to scale his father's business of The Raymond Shop.

By Amit Singh

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Manik Mittal is a go-getter and never shies away from taking calculated risks. That's something he proved when he moved The Raymond Shop (TRS) run by his father in Ferozpur to Abohar in Punjab. Mittal was already running a readymade garment store of a prominent brand in Abohar; hence it was easier to manage both the stores in same city. The move was in fact rewarding as he achieved the same momentum within three months of the movement in 2012; Abohar TRS is now counted among the top performing stores in North India. In the last 12 months, he expanded business by opening two Mini TRS in Sri Ganganagar, Rajasthan.

You have ramped up your stores quite aggressively. What is your strategy for growth?

We always give high importance to customer service. We regularly update our customers about new offers through messages and personal calls. In fact, Raymond helps us maintain customer loyalty through its time-to-time schemes. The recent "Look Good, Do Good' joint campaign from Raymond and Goonj was extremely fruitful as we individually called all of our customers to donate their old clothes and get free stitching of their new clothes. Similarly, we are getting good response on reward programs where we personally call customers on their birthdays and anniversaries, and remind them to redeem their points on their purchases. Rewards programs have helped us drive good footfall in the stores. Mostly, customers spend 3-4 times of the value of the redemption. We have observed 10-15 per cent increase in sales with the reward point scheme. In addition, we have received good returns through custom tailoring and consumer demand analysis.

How have tailoring services helped you grow?

Tailoring services have enabled us to increase average ticket size to Rs 4000-5000 per customer. It contributes almost 25 per cent to our revenues and is highly profitable at net margins of 40 per cent. In addition, tailoring services give as repeat customers as people seldom change their tailors if they get a perfect fit.

How do you analyze consumer demand?

We have trained our store staff and managers to capture consumer demand on the parameters like choice of color, fabric, spending and seasonal patterns. We hold weekly meetings with the managers to understand consumer patterns and plan our purchase accordingly. This enables us to meet consumer demands with lean inventory. We ensure to cater to every stratum of the consumers. In addition, marketing specific to catchment area helps us drive the business with brands support.

What's your advice for people thinking of getting into franchising?

Do not compromise on location as 80 per cent of the initial challenges are taken care by an excellent location. Good products, services and best practices deliver later, where brands like Raymond help you. In fact, Raymond's new agile and asset-light Mini TRS format enables franchisees to gain faster returns.

(This article was first published in the October 2019 issue of Entrepreneur Magazine. To subscribe, click here)

Amit Singh

Assistant Editor (Franchise)

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