Urban Ladder to invest ₹30 crore in offline stores

Sangeetha Chengappa Bengaluru | Updated on January 12, 2018

Rajiv Srivatsa, COO and co-founder, Urban Ladder

Targets 60% YoY growth in FY2018

Online furniture store Urban Ladder’s main area of focus for this year is to set up 10 offline brand experience stores in Bengaluru, Delhi and Mumbai with a total investment of ₹30 crore.

Its second big focus area is to step up a quantum of in-house designs vs supplier designs, a top executive from the company told BusinessLine. The company is awaiting approval from the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion for a single-brand retail licence.

The first brand-experience store spanning 3,500 sqft, located within the company’s office, went live last October, and the second store is scheduled to go live in Q1 FY 2018. The company plans to set up its first three small-to-medium-sized stores in its home market Bengaluru, followed by the rest in New Delhi and Mumbai by the year end.

“Beds, sofas and dining furniture are our core products from range, pricing and value proposition perspectives. However, only 40-50 per cent of our sales comes from these three core products, whereas, for many of our competitors that percentage is closer to 60-70 per cent. Since these core categories are higher-ticket items, having more of an offline presence would have helped us sell more. Also, we now know what gaps need to be filled from the selection and pricing perspective,” said Rajiv Srivatsa, co-founder and COO, Urban Ladder.

Brand transformation

With its offline store build-out, Urban Ladder is set to transform from an online furniture store to a digitally native consumer brand, with a new logo that represents an empty canvas within a box and a tagline that says ‘Lets Create.’

Srivatsa said: “The last 12 months was spent removing all inefficiencies from the system — we froze recruitment and back-filled voluntary exits from our internal team, cut down on wasteful spend by stopping TV ads since last February, and drastically reduced our product range.

“We are now looking to achieve 60 per cent YoY growth on the back of the savings that we achieved last year.”

Two months ago, rival Pepperfry — which dominates the online furniture and home décor market with 50 per cent share — announced an investment of ₹35 crore towards setting up 10 new experience studios to take the count to 22 by this February, and to ramp up on the technology front.

While Urban Ladder has raised $77 million from VCs and $3 million in Venture Debt, Pepperfry has raised $158 million to date. Asked about the next fund raise, Srivatsa said: “We look to raise funds in June/July.”

Published on January 13, 2017

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