Bouncing back: Duroflex fast-tracks retail footprint during lockdown

Sangeetha Chengappa Bengaluru | Updated on July 20, 2020

Mr.Mohanraj J, President and Business Unit Head, Duroflex

Mattress maker stalls work on ₹100-crore manufacturing capacity expansion till Q3

With business bouncing back to nearly 90 per cent of pre-C-19 levels in June, mattress maker Duroflex Pvt Ltd has fast-tracked its retail expansion with the signing and opening of four new 2,000-sq ft experiential centres during the lockdown, at an investment of ₹80 lakh-₹1 crore per centre. However, work on its ₹100-crore manufacturing capacity expansion in the North and West markets has been put on hold till quarter 3 of this fiscal, a top executive told BusinessLine.

“Like most businesses, the first quarter of this fiscal started slow for us due to the ongoing pandemic. But gradually. demand started picking up by mid-May, bounced back to nearly 90 per cent in June and we closed for the month of June at 90 per cent retail average sales as compared to monthly BAU (business as usual) sales” said Mohanraj J, President and Business Unit Head, Duroflex Pvt Ltd.

Pointing out that it was not all pent-up demand, he said, “After the Coronavirus outbreak we found that customers were actively looking for better quality mattresses and safe hygienic shopping environment, as they spend more time on mattresses — sleeping and working. To cater to this demand we decided to fast-pace our retail expansion and quickly regrouped to open two new sleep experiential centres in June — one in Hyderabad and a second centre in Bengaluru. We also signed up for two more in Chennai, which are scheduled to open in October. We already have three centres in Mumbai, taking our total tally to eight company-owned sleep experiential centres. This is in addition to 500 exclusive franchisee outlets across India.”

Virtual walkthrough

The ₹500-crore plus company has six manufacturing facilities — three in Karnataka, one each in Telangana, Alleppey and Bhiwandi, with a total capacity to manufacture 1 million-plus mattresses annually. Asked about the progress on the company’s ₹100-crore expansion plan to increase manufacturing capacity announced in October 2019, he said, “We have initiated work to expand capacity in the North and West markets but after the Coronavirus outbreak, we stopped and decided to resume in Q3 after reassessing market demand.”

After the lockdown was announced, Duroflex launched its Direct2Consumer channel where consumers are given a virtual walkthrough of products and are then directed to its experience centres. While footfalls at its centres have reduced from 7-10 customers/day to 3-4 customers/day, conversion rates have shot up to 80 per cent.

“Because of Covid-19 we have seen exponential growth in online sales in the last two months and aim to get 25-30 per cent of our revenue from online, up from 8-10 per cent last year. Besides our own e-commerce website, we are listed on Amazon, Flipkart and Pepperfry” said Mohanraj.

In 2017, Duroflex launched a completely online brand — Sleepyhead for millennials, one of the first few firms to introduce the concept of “mattress in a box” in India, which has grown to become the second largest online brand after market leader, Wakefit.

“In July, we expect demand momentum to continue at the June levels and to go back to pre-covid-19 levels during the upcoming festive season, a time when we expect migrant labour to come back to Kerala from overseas. Demand from Tier 2 and 3 markets is good; Bengaluru and Hyderabad are also doing well. We expect flat growth and to break even in FY 21” said Mohanraj.

The company claims to be India’s only certified orthopaedic mattress range recommended and tested by National Health Academy under the Duropedic range. It also offers mattress for all types of consumers under the brand name Energise, eco-friendly latex and coir mattresses under the Natural Living range and value for money mattresses under the Essential range. The Company also offers 100 per cent memory foam pillows, anti-microbial roll pack mattresses and mattress protectors, all designed to provide deep, healthy and enriching sleep.

Published on July 20, 2020

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