Retail CFO Summit: Maintaining Health and Creating Wealth

STOrai profiles the 5th edition of Retail CFO Summit held in Mumbai on March 21, 2014.

Globally, in every market, retail companies form part of the top 10 richest, most valuable companies. Retailers (e.g. Walmart) are part of the Fortune 500 list. Retail, whether brick and mortar, or e-tail is also a ‘long tail game’ – the business has a long gestation period and needs deep pockets of capital. However, once scale is created, the financials “tip-over”, the business becomes cash-positive and provides immense profitability.  Beyond this stage, it is  considered as a ‘cash-cow’- as global investors such as Warren Buffet and George Soros will testify.

In India, Reliance Retail is probably the closest to this tipping point. Other players including the e-tailers are in the ‘capital hungry’ mode.  The CFO conclave 2014 looked at what retail CFO’s can do during this journey to maintain the health of the company, in the quest to eventually creating wealth.

The event was attended by 150 people, including RAI members and academic partners.

The highlight of the event was the speech by Devdutt Pattanaik – the mythologist who used Jain mythology to profile the three types of roles that CFO’s could play: that of a “Vasudev” – who is action driven, that of a “Chakravarti” (who is rule driven) and that of a “Tirthankar” – who is thought driven. The Organization requires the CFO to play different roles in different contexts and at different parts of the life-cycle.

STOrai presents quotable quotes and glimpses from the event

Working capital management is a crucial function of a CFO and success of new ideas depend on it. India is an evolving market. People, technology and environment are dynamic and hence, there should be flexibility to manage the change” –  said CP Toshniwal during his Key Note Address. “The regulatory environment poses many hurdles and needs to be relooked – GST is to be brought in, MRP regulation needs to be made relevant, essential commodities act needs a revamp. Too fast growth can be detrimental if the system, process and people do not scale up in line with the rate of growth”, he added.
C P Toshniwal, Executive Director, Future Lifestyle Fashion Ltd.

The ‘predatory’ pricing of e-tailers is a concern, especially because capital continues to be abundantly available” said Ambreesh Baliga, Managing Partner, Global Wealth Management, Edelweiss Financial Services; moderating the panel on ‘Funding in Retail’.

– Ambreesh Baliga, Managing Partner, Edelweiss Financial Services

The panel on Risk Mitigation and Corporate Governance discussed the differences and similarities between Risk management and Corporate Governance

“Risk management can be imposed by management diktat, but Corporate Governance has to evolve from the culture of the company”, said Amar Chintopanth, the panel moderator and Director, CC Chokshi Advisors

For any retail CFO, expense management is about the Big 3 – Rentals, Manpower cost and Electricity” – said Atul Daga,

Chief Financial Officer, Aditya Birla Retail Ltd; as part of the panel discussion on ‘Managing Expenses in Retail’. – Atul Daga, CFO, Aditya Birla Retail

Delegate feedback showed that RAI’s use of business and inspirational speakers was much appreciated by the audience.

For more information see the ‘download zone’ link on

The following two tabs change content below.
Retailers Association of India (RAI) is the unified voice of Indian retailers. RAI is a not for profit organization (registered under section 25 of Companies Act, 1956), works with all the stakeholders for creating the right environment for the growth of the modern retail industry in India. RAI is the body that encourages, develops, facilitates and supports retailers to become modern and adopt best practices that will delight customers. RAI has a three charter aim of Retail Development, Facilitation and Propagation.