Miniso may have competition in India in chains like Market99 and Muji or category leaders, but the company is gaining a foothold in India on the back of pricing and its pace of expansion.
Plus, a similar retail format of a pan-India variety chain has been largely missing in India, “possibly because pricing, rentals and supply chain expenses are a tough equation to resolve in such low-cost formats,” said a retail analyst, asking not to be named in context of the brand. “That explains Miniso’s attempt to achieve scale quickly.”
And the company wants more. 800 stores by 2020, sized between 1,500 and 3,700 square feet, both owned and franchised. The plan is to “make Miniso a successful convenience store in India,” said Liu, adding that India has already become one of Miniso’s top five markets by earning Rs 700 crore in just one year. In fact, the company is also exploring bringing two other brands owned by the parent company—furniture brand Mini Home and another premium brand Nome—once Miniso is settled.
The Rs 700-crore number is a rather intriguing one.
In the last four months, the company has repeatedly made headlines for having met its target from 26 stores in August 2018. That amounts to almost Rs 27 crore ($3.8 million) per store, close to Muji’s overall revenue of Rs 29 crore ($4.1 million) in the year ending March 2018. However, Miniso’s original target when it launched in August 2017 was a supremely ambitious Rs 10,000 crore ($1.4 billion) in revenue in two years. This estimate, said Liu, was revised internally after the company introspected its standing, given the challenges in India.
According to the RoC filings of Miniso’s India entity, sourced from Tofler, the company made Rs 21 crore ($2.9 million) in revenue between 22 June 2017 (incorporation date) and 31 March 2018. Since Miniso opened its first store on 18 August 2017, the Rs 21-crore revenue is for a little over seven months ending 31 March 2018. Going by the company’s claim of Rs 700 crore, Miniso would have had to earn Rs 679 crore ( $96.2 million) in the five months till August 2018. That couldn’t have been easy.
The Ken learnt that at least two Miniso stores in Delhi make about Rs 50-60 lakh ($70,856-85,027) a month, on an average. That amounts to Rs 6-7 crore ($850,279-991,993) a year. The revenue numbers could be somewhat higher in high-end shopping areas. Even if we assume that Miniso had all 26 stores operational throughout, Rs 679 crore would have been a hard nut to crack. “It’s a pretty high number for a brand that is not that popular in India, to begin with. This kind of productivity is very unusual,” said an analyst at a consultancy, asking not to be named.
Miniso declined to comment on revenue and the breakdown of financial figures, citing company policy.
And so, the Rs 700 crore number remains uncertain, much like the origin of the company. Miniso identifies itself as a Japanese designer brand, with two co-founders—Japanese designer Miyake Junya and Chinese entrepreneur Ye Guofo.
An increasing number of stores
The company, however, has a lot more to do with China than Japan – a fact that has been highlighted by multiple foreign publications. Miniso has only four stores in Japan but more than 1,100 in China, as confirmed by Liu. While the company insists that it is based in Tokyo, operations are handled out of China; multiple news reports, including one on the official website of Miniso says that it is based in Guangzhou. The company sources from and manufactures a lot in China as well. “China is a global factory. Miniso is not the only one sourcing from China. If Miniso is Chinese, so are Apple and Samsung,” said Liu.
While it’s true that Apple’s iPhone is largely assembled in China and Samsung has a manufacturing plant in the country, both the companies have proper headquarters and substantial presence in their home countries as well. Apple is headquartered in the US, which remains its largest market, while Greater China is its third-largest market accounting for 18% of the total revenue in the last quarter. As for Samsung, the company accounted for more than one-third of the total operating profit of all listed entities in South Korea in the first quarter of 2018.
Now, the website of the Indian entity says that Miniso was formed as a middle ground between two extreme consumption patterns—of European luxury brands and counterfeit goods. And yet, the company has drawn flak for ‘unoriginality’ in its name, logo, and products. Miniso’s name sounds like the Japanese dollar chain Daiso, while its logo is similar to that of Japan’s fast-fashion brand Uniqlo. The product categories and their ‘minimalist’ designs take after Muji.