Brands to lead region-wise growth for Myntra: Ananth Narayanan

Ananth Narayanan, Chief Executive of Myntra and Jabong

Working towards making his company Ebitda Zero by next year, Ananth Narayanan, chief executive of Myntra and Jabong, is getting into multiple tie-ups with brands to bolster his online-to-offline strategy. Speaking to Karan Choudhury, he makes it clear that while it is registering its presence offline, Myntra is very much an online retailer. Myntra on Wednesday, along with its business partner, Barcelona-based fashion brand Mango, opened its first bricks-and-mortar store with the latest concept in Delhi. Mango's expansion plans comprise of 25 store openings in India over the next five years. Excerpts:

 

Amazon has got into an offline tie-up with Shoppers Stop and has picked up stake in the retail giant as well. Is partnering with brands and running a franchise model your game plan to tackle competition?

I do not know what Amazon's strategy is. We have been working on the Mango tie-up for more than a year. This has been in the works for a long time. Our offline-online omni-channel strategy is centred around brands. We want to build Mango as a brand. Overall, we are still a multi-brand online retailer. I also fundamentally believe that large brands would be built at scale in India.

 

Will you have kiosks at these brand stores? What would Myntra's offline presence be like?

 

Not at all, these are very much Mango stores. It is about building the Mango brand. This is not what a competitor is doing with various firms. We are building brands.

 

How many more such partnerships are you planning?

 

This is the first partnership, we just signed Esprit. I do not have a target for the number of partners. We are looking for the right kinds of brands to associate with who have a shared vision on offline-online models. But yes we are on the lookout for more partners.

 

What is the increase in offline and online sales you foresee?

 

Last year we saw a 100 per cent growth of Mango on Myntra. I expect that going offline would accelerate that even further. I am hopeful that, for example the store opening up in New Delhi, the overall offline sales would go up more than 25 per cent for Mango in the city. The 25 stores will cover most of the metros and give a brand presence, which I believe will drive half the sales. The other half would come from Tier-II, Tier-III and beyond.

 

Will this brand approach help Myntra in region-specific growth as well?

 

I think yes. Mango's share in percentage on Myntra will go up. It is already among the top five brands on our platform. We expect that number to go up.

 

You also have your bricks-and-mortar stores, how are they performing? Do you think getting into a tie-up with a bricks-and-mortar specialist is better than running it on your own?

 

I think our Roadster store is doing really well. Not only it is doing well at the store level achieving our targets, it also helping in improving online sales from Bengaluru for Roadster. In terms of offline expertise, from a management team standpoint, we have people with deep offline experience. In terms of day-to-day operations, we are finding the right partners who will manage the stores.

 

So by when is Myntra becoming an overall profitable operation?

 

JFM 2018 (January, February, March) is what we are pushing for. We will be Ebitda Zero and are sticking to that and I think we are on track on getting there.

 

How has the festive season been like so far?

 

Festive season has started well, though it is early days.