suiting the world

May 25, 2017

A prominent management thought leader once told me that a good business strategy is one that can be outlined in a short time… without any bells and whistles. Gautam Hari Singhania, Chairman and Managing Director, Raymond Group, in what may be the shortest-ever cover feature interview, took me through his company’s growth strategy and future plans in a little under sixteen minutes. Without missing a single detail.

Taking over the mantle from his father, the legendary Dr Vijaypat Singhania, he engineered a turnaround and made the company 21st century-ready. Whether it is producing Super 250s, the ultimate luxury fabric, or creating a store that delights Gen Z, Raymond has successfully straddled a wide spectrum of customers. Many may cavil at the company’s quarterly numbers which are not heartening, but if one looks beyond them, one can see the company is on the right track.

Raymond is keeping it simple. It is sticking to its core strength—fabrics—and building on it. It is testing new markets and offering innovative products. And most importantly, it is clear about what the brand stands for and signifies to the customer. While the world went the ecommerce way, Raymond bet on its bricks and mortar stores, and invested time and money in renovating them. It is perhaps the only company in India to cross 1.5 million sq.ft of self-controlled retail space in the business of lifestyle and fashion. Even as ecommerce majors are fighting for market share, Raymond has a clear pole position.

Whether it was the decision to divest non-core business or engage professionals for the company’s day-to-day management, or being skeptical about the online business story, Singhania has always embraced the unconventional path. In this exclusive interview with The Smart Manager, he talks about why Raymond continues to be an aspirational brand and why strategy, at the end of the day, is only about enhancing shareholder value. Simple, is it not?

A common thread across most articles and interviews on the Group is the 2021 vision…
Not 2021, but 2020. It has probably become 2021 since we lost one year because of the way things are…

Could you elaborate…
We are not going to divulge our strategy. However, we have a clear vision of what we want to do and you will see it unfold slowly. It will play out the way it is required.
Eventually, no strategy is good if you do not deliver shareholder value. So, whatever we do is fundamentally aimed at enhancing shareholder value. That is the direction in which we have to move.