Almost a year after business was severely hit by pandemic-related disruptions; Future Group CEO Kishore Biyani expects normal sales to return by the end of January. The group, which operates popular retailing formats Big Bazaar, FBB, Central and Nilgiris - has seen sales touching almost 60 per cent of pre-COVID levels and that business has normalised to great extent.
Future Group, which entered into a Rs 24,713-crore deal with Reliance Industries to sell its retail business, has also received large orders from Jio Mart that is helping the retail major chart a strong comeback. Future Group companies and promoters together have a debt of over Rs 20,000 crore. On inventory position and stocks, Biyani has informed the stocks in stores are almost up to 80 per cent of what they were before the pandemic. However, it could be a while before the days of packed retail stores return.
Last month, CEO of Big Bazaar, Future Group hypermarket, Sadashiv Nayak had said the number of visitors in stores is increasing and during the festive season all sections, including apparels and garments, recorded good sales.
Future Group embraced the digital route to reach out to customers. Various retail brands under the Future Group have turned to shopping apps, WhatsApp and even phones to receive orders and deliver them to customers. The concept of 'pick up at stores' has also gained traction. Like previous years, Future Group is also gearing up for its annual sale event "Sabse Sasta Din" on January 26. Biyani expects a significant jump in footfalls during the event. Future Group firms have started getting large orders from Reliance Industries for its FMCG arm Future Consumer as well as supply chain and logistics company Future Enterprises.