Spreading its wings globally, the Indian textile giant, Raymond Group was formed in 1925 and is still growing stronger. Anirudh Deshmukh, President Retail and FMCG, Raymond Limited tells us about its inception, growth and success
Abha Garyali (AG) Raymond is launching around 70 outlets by October. Kindly elaborate on this.
Anirudh Deshmukh (AD): We have been expanding significantly in the smaller towns in the last couple of years. This expansion is particularly in the class IV and class V towns where the population is below five lakh. By the end of this year we will be opening another 70 stores in smaller towns. In Punjab and Haryana the outlets will be opened in Sangrur, Rohtak, Ambala, etc and similarly the trend will be carried across the country in states of Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Southern states etc.
AG: How many stores does Raymond have? How many of them are franchised and company owned?
AD: By first week of October we will be having almost 500 stores. Out of these 500 outlets 36 (all franchised outlets) are abroad in Middle East, Srilanka and Bangladesh. In India we have 59 outlets which are company-owned and other 405 stores are operated through franchise route. The 70 outlets which are coming up in October will also be franchised.
AG: What inspired Raymond to expand at such a rapid rate in the smaller towns?
AD: From the beginning Raymond is keen on expanding in smaller towns’ and till now we have more than 100 stores. We basically opt for franchised model for expanding in smaller towns as these are not affected by recession and the franchised stores can be driven by local entrepreneurs who are aware of the preferences of the local customers. All our company-owned outlets are in metros.
AG: Tell us something about the origin, growth and success of Raymond?
AD: Raymond as a company started in 1925 as a woolen and readymade garment industry. We opened the first Raymond shop in 1959 in Mumbai. Raymond as a brand has achieved phenomenal success with over 500 stores coming up by the next month. Raymond can be called the ‘Absolute Leaders’ in the fabric industry as consumers have faith on us since the last 50 years and still we are growing stronger. We are known for our quality as we produce the best fabric.
AG: What qualities do you seek for your prospective franchisees?
AD: First and foremost it is important that the franchisee should be passionate about the business and should have an interest in the retail sector. The background of textile and apparel is not essential but franchisee needs to be financially sound and should have some property. The franchisee should in sync with the values that Raymond stands for.
AG: What kind of training and support do you provide to your franchisees?
AD: There is a full fledged training department. Our people go to the particular location and train the franchisee and his staff. All aspects of running the outlet are taught to them like product knowledge, customer service, billings etc. In addition to this we have frequent courses for keeping the franchisees updated.
AG: How much investment is required by aspiring entrepreneurs for opening your outlets in terms of money and time?
AD: In smaller towns where the outlets are being opened, the franchisees need an area of 1,000 to 1,500 sq. ft and an investment of around Rs 20 lakh is needed for the interiors and fixtures. Another investment of Rs 20 lakh is needed for the stock. Therefore a total of Rs 40 lakh is needed from the franchisee.
AG: What are the challenges that can be faced by an outlet owner in this business?
AD: Challenges are faced in every business and in ours it can be acquisition of customers, running operations profitably and ensuring satisfaction of the customers.