Kolkata-based FMCG major Emami has embarked on various distribution initiatives and rural expansion drives to boost growth in the current fiscal, its Chairman RS Agarwal said. Addressing shareholders at the company’s annual general meeting, he said in the first quarter of the current financial year, the company continued to face market challenges due to the second wave of COVID-19 pandemic — from mid-April onwards. Local lockdowns and restrictions in various states severely affected both urban and rural regions.
“In the current financial year, your company has embarked on various distribution initiatives to drive further growth. We embarked on a focused rural expansion drive under Project Khoj through expansion of rural footprint in the top 4 potential rural contributing states in FY22,” Agarwal said.
To augment the current distribution strength, Emami outlined a “clear strategy to drive growth aggressively in the rural market”, he said, adding digitalisation of rural sales force was completed successfully last fiscal.
It enabled the rural sales team to capture all market orders digitally and manage sub stockist inventories, he added.
The company had decided to have a strong omni-channel presence beyond wholesale, with a focused growth in direct retail reach, modern trade, e-commerce and D2C (Direct to Consumer) channels, he said, adding “our direct reach increased to 9.4 lakh outlets with the rural coverage strengthened through van operations”.
Elaborating on the D2C ecommerce platform Zanducare, he said it has “successfully garnered almost one crore unique visitors” and last year the offtake of Zandu Healthcare improved by 45 percent, a major contribution of which had come from the D2C portal.
“This encouraging response has strengthened our resolve to stay aggressive about this new distribution model and keep on launching many more exclusive products on this platform to ensure direct consumer benefit,” Agarwal added.
In the ongoing fiscal, he said, “We have also created a separate structure and activation programmes for standalone modern trade stores and chemist outlets. Further, we are leveraging the e-commerce channel and building advanced analytical capabilities”.
On the impact of COVID-19, he said India along with the rest of the world has been passing through one of the most volatile periods under the sudden and unprecedented impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
“Suspension of economic activities due to lockdowns and the mounting pressure of health emergencies on the common man severely impacted the economic growth of the country,” he said.