The Loot, a multi-brand, multi-location discount chain offering a wide range of products in apparel, footwear and accessories for men, women and kids with discounts ranging between 25 to 60 per cent throughout the year, is now looking at expanding its reach. It plans to open 40 new stores by July this year, taking up the number of The Loot stores to 200. The discount chain offers top national and international brands to meet the aspirations of the common man at affordable prices. Among the brands it retails are: Puma, Nike, Indian Terrain, Numero Uno, Status Quo, Revlon, Lee, Spykar, Fcuk, Sepia, Red Tape, Lee Cooper, Lawman, Crocs, Killer, Wills Lifestyle, Wrangler and many others. It also has four private labels, viz: IOU, Eccentrics, Bus stop and Road and a few more are in the offing. They contribute a substantial percentage their sales. Started in 2004, with a ‘Value Retail’ format, it already has 160 outlets pan India.
In 2008, The Franchising World selected The Loot amongst the Top 50 business opportunities in India. The same year, it was also selected one amongst the 12 ‘Small ideas big changes’ series by The Hindustan Times in Mumbai in 2008. To propel growth and to move to the next level, it’s investing vigorously in IT and training of its personnel. A modern fully equipped and technologically upgraded warehouse has been set up at Bhiwandi, which can accommodate approximately eight lakh pieces of merchandise to meet the growing demand as per expansion plan. It recently tied up with Tata Consultancy Services to implement their SME ERP solution to streamline and bring efficiencies to its business. As Jay Gupta, Managing Director, The Loot informs, “The challenges were team and financial management to take the company to a higher level and keep fully equipped with infrastructure to handle competition. It has been possible to meet these challenges by having a professional management at all levels.”
With a turnover of Rs 118 crores it now plan is to increase it 50 per cent year-on-year. In fact, the Loot’s main thrust in 2010 was footprint expansion and addition of new brands to its 100 plus portfolio. It attributes its success to careful segmented targeting as the brand’s consumer target is the college going crowd and the young working population. The aspiration for these customers is to be associated with the brand names and at the same time they always look for discounts and are not willing to pay the premium price that is associated with these brands. According to Gupta, “We offer discounts from a minimum of 25 per cent and to up to 60 per cent apart from various offers that run in addition to the existing discounts. The challenges faced initially were to clear misconceptions about the concept of The Loot, particularly, convincing the consumers about the quality of the merchandise and convey to them that we are not dealing in seconds/defectives but are original surplus product stores.”
Talking about the e-retailing strategies brands are following these days, Gupta says, “We have had an online presence for quite some time. However, it is imperative to understand that online retailing for apparels is still in a nascent stage and the consumer has not yet matured to the idea of buying apparels online, the touch and feel factor is still very strong”.