RAI Retail CFO Summit 2023

Mumbai, August 23, 2023: The Retailers Association of India (RAI) hosted the ‘Retail CFO Summit 2023’ in Mumbai on August 22, 2023. This notable event attracted a plethora of retail CFOs, CEOs, and finance professionals. Central to the summit’s discussions was the theme: ‘Evolving Role of CFO: Preparing for Growth or Recession?’.

Amid unparalleled economic volatility, the CFO’s role is rapidly evolving, underscoring agility, human capital, and digital transformation. Such adaptability equips businesses to capitalise on opportunities for growth, while also preparing them for potential downturns in 2023. The ‘Retail CFO Summit’ aims to showcase best practices in retail finance, identify growth tactics, and provide a vibrant forum for industry experts to collaborate, interact, and acquire insights.

Speaking about the theme of the Retail CFO Summit 2023, Mr Kumar Rajagopalan – Chief Executive Officer, of the Retailers Association of India (RAI), said, “In these transformative times, the CFO’s role is not just about managing finances but about foreseeing the future and navigating the stormy seas of change. As the retail industry grapples with unprecedented challenges and opportunities, the 2023 CFO Summit is a beacon for finance leaders, illuminating the path toward sustainable growth amidst potential recessions. At RAI, we believe in empowering CFOs with the knowledge, tools, and networks to steer the retail sector into a prosperous future. Together, let’s redefine finance leadership and set new benchmarks for excellence in the industry”.

The summit boasted a stellar lineup of speakers, including Amit Agarwal, Group CFO of Raymond Ltd.; Anand Agarwal, CFO of V-Mart Retail Ltd.; Angshuman Bhattacharya, National Leader for Consumer Products and Retail Sector at EY India; Girdhar Chitlangia, CFO of Arvind Fashions Ltd.; Karunakaran M, CFO of Shoppers Stop Ltd; Rahul Murarka, CFO of Vedant Fashions Ltd.; and Rajesh Annamalai, CFO of Aditya Birla Fashion and Retail Ltd., to name a few.

Throughout the day, captivating panel discussions delved deep into various facets of the summit’s primary theme. Highlight sessions encompassed debates on pivotal topics like the CFO’s role in regulatory compliance management, striking a balance between profitability and sustainable growth, the impact of technology and digital transformation, and strategies to identify revenue leakage and prevent loss.

RAI Retail CFO Summit

Speaking about the retail industry outlook at the summit, Angshuman Bhattacharya, National Leader – Consumer Products and Retail Sector, EY India, said, “The immediate few quarters have seen some growth challenges and rising questions around a slowdown. However, this is due to two factors- a high H1 FY 23 base post-pandemic and efficiency measures taken towards pruning unprofitable segments and channels. However, three themes stand tall: millennial consumerism reflecting on categories like footwear, athletics, and casual wear which are witnessing strong growth. Second, is the tier-2 unbranded to branded being experienced by value retailers. The third is premiumization as affluent consumers spend more on discretionary categories such as watches, jewellery, and travel. These three themes are likely to continue on the growth trajectory even through the current fiscal. In the long term, this is India’s decade as per capita GDP crosses the 2500 USD inflection mark and the promise it holds for discretionary expenditure. India is the most promising retail market for the coming decade powered by digital and omnichannel models at the front and product and category innovation at the back end.”

Anand Agarwal, CFO, V-Mart, added, “We’re sitting on the cusp of a new revolution as far as India is concerned. The GDP is growing at a healthy rate and especially retail consumption is bound to grow as we see income levels rising, the savings rate getting stabilized and therefore the discretionary spend is bound to grow which obviously has to have a very strong repercussion on the overall retail consumption.”

Over the years, the Retail CFO Summit by RAI has become an important annual gathering for the retail finance fraternity to explore, engage and demystify opportunities, and reforms and share BCPs of how the industry can move towards fast and yet, sustainable growth.