Saurav Bhattacharya, Ajmal Perfumes, Retail News, AND Retail

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The Ajmal perfume brand has a strong retail presence with over 240 exclusive outlets across the CCG and globally. The brand is also present internationally; currently exporting to over 40 countries around the world and with an exclusive presence through 30 global duty free locations and International Airlines. In India, Ajmal Perfumes is available at 3,000 outlets across a mix of channels including modern commerce, e-commerce, general commerce, multi-brand outlets and company-owned stores. In an interview with Varun Jain from ETRetail, Saurav Bhattacharya, President- Operations, Ajmal NHA Division, spoke about the impact of the pandemic on their business, changes in strategy and the way forward. Edited excerpts:

How has the pandemic affected your business?

The pandemic has accelerated the future into the present. The impact of the pandemic has fundamentally changed how and where consumers shop and is accelerating substantial structural changes in the context of affordability.

Both paradigms have emerged. First, a significant portion of the customers’ wallet share is spent on essential products which drastically reduces the share of the lifestyle product wallet. Second, it was a challenge for us to make the products available at all times during the pandemic period.

To solve this problem, we redesigned our sales ecosystem and focused on the need to make fragrances a necessity with a constant place in a consumer’s weekly basket. The ability to quickly adapt our existing product portfolio to new consumer needs is of paramount importance. This crisis has offered us a unique chance to give consumers exactly what they need – breadth in the wallet by increasing methods of perfume delivery.

What has been the impact on the entire perfume industry?

When we look at the published category data, the Indian perfume minus deodorant market is likely to be around Rs 3,000 crore and is set to grow at a CAGR of 17%, growing to around Rs 5,000 crore by 2024. However, when we summarize the manufacturing in various places, the category number could be almost 10 times the published data. Indeed, several local players and manufacturers are responding to suburban and localized demand at prices below Rs 500, which is currently beyond the radar of major brands that do not participate in these prices and consumption segments.

What has been the pace of your growth? Have you been able to sustain growth during these difficult times?

The unfortunate setback of COVID has opened up an opportunity to create fragrance solutions for the disruptive new normal. This outbreak has given us an opportunity to develop skills and operations like never before.

Not only are we able to support growth, but we also make sure to grow and diversify by working on a supply chain network of our own. We are one of the world’s leading vertically integrated fragrance companies, which allows us to take proactive measures as the market faces disruption. Using a complex distribution network, general trade in simple terms, we respond to localized customer demands through regular orders with short delivery times and varying fill rates. Having a diverse supply chain helps brands avoid unnecessary risk and equips them with a comprehensive toolkit of resources to make sourcing more complex inventories as smooth as possible.

Ajmal traditionally imported 70% of the products from its state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities in Dubai. Today, despite the pandemic, we have moved manufacturing to India to save almost 35% on various import duties, providing our consumers with a better price-value equation. We have worked with suppliers and manufacturers to create an ecosystem capable of delivering the price-value equation for better value delivery to the Indian consumer during this process.

What are your current income? What are your projections for the future?

Based on the current mode of operation and the achievement of the sales target, we aim to create annualized revenue of US $ 50 million compared to annualized investments of US $ 15-20 million over the years. next three to four years.

Where would the company invest its resources this year?

As we move forward, we want to create more affordable formats to acquire new consumers by taking advantage of value packs, trial packs, sample activations, and organic extensions in adjacent categories. All of our expansion efforts will always be focused on providing competitive pricing: value propositions across segments and channels, keeping in mind the size of the portfolio and the olfactory sensitivities of different consumer segments.

For 2021, we are invested in our co-brand, and its growth in breadth and depth is our goal.

We are planning an investment of approx. US $ 10 million over the next three years. So our goal will be to drive breadth (number of outlets) with the caveat that we maintain some depth saturation in our first three years. By depth we mean the maximum amount of sales a store can get. Our ambition is to reach over 1,500 points of sale, spanning all sales channels, including e-commerce, general commerce and modern retail.


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