Realty revival lifts home retail

Roofline / Streetsville, Ontario
Better times are gradually returning to the home retail segment, among the categories worst affected by the slowdown. The segment, which saw a decline of 15-25% in sales, is witnessing a spate of revival, hand-in-hand with the returning stability in housing market.

Leading players in this segment like the Future Group, Godrej Interio, Welspun Retail and HomeStop are hopeful of the trend gaining  further momentum, with the festive season right around the corner.

Confirming the trend, Retailers Association of India CEO Kumar Rajagopalan said, “With the housing sector slump, home sections of retailers found themselves in big trouble. But now that there are signs of a recovery in the housing market, home retail is also picking up. Both hard and soft furnishings have shown an increase in sales of anything between 10-15 percent over the past quarter. This segment had seen sales decline by 20 percent.”

Godrej & Boyce, which runs 50-odd ‘Interio’ furniture stores, has been witnessing a revival from May. Mr. Subodh Mehta, senior GM (home business), Godrej Interio said, “While some home retailers may have been downtrading by giving massive discounts, we restricted ourselves to normal promotion. Even though sales are yet to reach the 30-35 percent growth rate as in the pre-slowdown days, it is still growing at a double-digit rate”.

HomeStop, the home concept format owned by Shopper’s Stop, expects sales to grow from September-October onwards. Shopper’s Stop executive director & CEO Govind Shrikhande said, “Though we did not experience a steep decline in sales, our expectations are that sales will again reach its peak in the last quarter”.

Future Group, one of the largest players in home retail with multiple stores like Home Town, Collection-I and Furniture Bazaar, has been reporting a negative same store growth in this segment since the slowdown hit India. The group reported a 10% drop in same store sales till March, slumping further to 28% in April and May, and 34% in June. Group officials feel the fall in same store sales has bottomed out last month.