Humble beginning to a rapidly growing pan India model

What started as a humble one store enterprise in 1986 in Kolkata (erstwhile, Calcutta) is today, a conglomerate encompassing 108 showrooms in 73 cities / 20 states. India’s first hyper-market has also been opened for the Indian consumer by Vishal. Situated in the national capital Delhi, this store boasts of the single largest collection of goods and commodities sold under one roof in India.

The group had a turnover of Rs 1463.12 million for the fiscal 2005, under the dynamic leadership of Mr. Ram Chandra Aggrawal. The Group had a turnover of Rs 2884.43 million for the fiscal 2006 and Rs 6026.53 million for the fiscal 2007.

The group’s prime focus is on retailing. The Vishal stores offer affordable family fashion at prices to suit every pocket. The group ‘s philosophy is integration and towards this end, it has initiated backward integration in the field of high fashion, by setting up a state of the art manufacturing facility to support its retail endeavors.

Vishal is one of the fastest growing retailing groups in India. Its outlets cater to almost all price ranges. The showrooms have over 70,000 products, which fulfill all your household needs, and can be catered to under one roof. It is covering about 20,59, 292 lac sq ft in 18 states across India. Each store gives you international quality goods and prices hard to match. The cost benefits that are derived from the large central purchase of goods and services is passed on to the consumer.

When the concept of readymade garments was catching on and people were taking a fancy to buying stitched clothes of the shelf Agarwal opened his first Vishal Garments store in Lal Bazar street and after tasting initial success, he soon hit upon the idea of holding discount sales of leading apparel brands, which he bought in large lots.

For the next couple of years, he held more such sales exhibitions across the city. Around this time, what he saw during his visits to Singapore, Bangkok and across Europe inspired him to think about his future business model – large format stores offering value for money goods. If you need volumes hypermarkets were the way forward.

In 2001, in New Delhi, where the first Vishal garments showroom opened in Rajouri garden. Soon after, they launched his first hypermarket store near Gurgaon. The concept worked, and today, there are 54 stores across India with immediate plans to add another 35.

This time, the focus is on strengthening Vishal’s presence in south and west India. The cornerstone of Agarwal’s growth strategy has been a focus on smaller towns like Gwalior, Dhanbad, Ptila, Haldwani, Bhubaneswar and Hissar. There are two key reasons for this. One, it is much easier to create a big impact through large format stores in smaller towns than in metros. The concept of modern retail holds more charm for people living in these towns. The novelty of moving around on your own through the store with your trolley and none to bother you, is far greater here.

And, now with rising incomes and purchasing power, smaller cities are also generating good, revenues. Importantly, real estate costs have been much lower compared to metros, and this has helped keep consumer prices down.

With the growth potential in modern retail, they believed Vishal Mega Mart brand could grow by 80 – 100% in a year’s time. Last year, private equity firm, Gaja Capital along with HDFC the Burmans and Reliance Capital invested Rs 38 crore in the company. And this July, Agarwal made Vishal Retail public. As they expand they will need much more than entrepreneurial drive to succeed – in the manpower intensive retail business, professionalizing and building HR capabilities will be crucial.

Vishal Retail Ltd has a factory in Gurgoan Haryana. This factory has more than 700 imported machines that have a capacity to manufacture 15,0000 pieces a month. The factory occupies 80,000 sq ft of covered space. The Vishal group indirectly gives employment to more than 1000 people. These people work in ancillaries that supply finished goods to the company.