Nykaa in India plans to triple number of stores in retail expansion – CEO

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MUMBAI, Dec. 1 (Reuters) – Indian fashionable cosmetics retailer Nykaa plans to more than triple its physical stores to 300, founder and managing director Falguni Nayar said, significantly strengthening its offline presence in the country.

Nayar declined to give a timeline for the deployment, but said the company is targeting 100 cities, adding to the 84 outlets it already operates in 40 cities.

“The store expansion process had slowed down due to the pandemic (COVID-19) for about a year,” Nayar said in an interview with the Following conference broadcast Wednesday. “But this year, we have relaunched the deployment of our store.”

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Although Nykaa largely operates as an e-commerce platform selling everything from global cosmetics brands to jewelry, Nayar said physical stores, targeting Indian consumers wishing to purchase touchscreen products, are a critical part of the company.

Despite the rapid growth of e-commerce and Amazon.com in India’s nearly $ 900 billion retail market, most shoppers are still buying products offline.

Nykaa said it is targeting a sub-segment of this industry – the $ 70 billion beauty, personal care and fashion market.

Like many other retailers, Nykaa has been hit hard by the pandemic as work-from-home rules have reduced demand for office clothing, cosmetics and footwear. The company last month reported a 96% drop in quarterly profit.

But things are improving as the COVID-19 pandemic abates and the holiday and wedding season in India accelerates.

“There is clearly a make-up (products) upturn that was pre-pandemic,” Nayar, a 58-year-old former investment banker, said in an interview on Nov. 25.

Nayar gained public attention last month when his company made a meteoric debut on the stock market with a valuation of $ 14 billion.

Top private equity firms such as TPG and Fidelity, and Indian Bollywood stars Alia Bhatt and Katrina Kaif, have financially supported FSN E-Commerce Ventures (FSNE.NS), the company that owns the Nykaa brand.

Nykaa, which sources many products in Europe, is also focused on increasing its own private label exports to the UK and the Middle East.

Nonetheless, Nayar said India remains the priority given the country’s massive growth potential.

Many Indians, Nayar noted, “have yet to buy their first watch, first car, first home – I think India is in a very different situation than other developed economies.”

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Reporting by Abhirup Roy; Additional reporting by Chandini Monnappa; Editing by Aditya Kalra and Jane Wardell

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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