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Perspective

Retail Done Right
Noel Tata's vision has been the singular force behind the spectacular success of Trent

N Mahalakshmi

Trent chairman and half-brother of Ratan Tata, the reclusive Noel Tata has always been glad to stay away from the spotlight. Yet, his vision has been the singular force behind the spectacular success of Trent, the Tata Group’s retail arm. By creating an enviable portfolio of private labels and measured expansion of stores, Trent has become one of the most profitable franchises in the retail business today. 

While a lot of Trent’s peers expanded aggressively across the country burning a huge hole through their pockets, Noel Tata focused on getting the format and product right apart from building a robust and efficient supply chain. That strategy has not only worked brilliantly for Trent but has also given it a solid platform to leverage on. And that’s exactly what the company is doing by picking up the pace of its expansion and by increasing its footprint across Tier-I and Tier-II towns apart from betting big on its hypermarket business and fast fashion through its private labels. As Trent trades its conservative strategy for a more aggressive one, Noel Tata shares Trent’s blueprint for growth. That’s the subject of our cover story.

Among other stories in this edition, you may want to check out SigTuple which has got the attention of leading venture capitalists with a business model that just might re-invent the diagnostics business. It is a great story of homegrown innovation which uses artificial intelligence to help pathologists diagnose more accurately and in real-time.

Then in investing, there is a feature on Quess Corp as well as a take on safe-havens in which mutual fund managers highlight sectors to tide over the current volatility. Market turmoil often throws up interesting investment opportunities and Quess which has grown through organic and diligent acquisitions seems to be one. The aggressive mix has worked well so far and analysts expect status quo going forward. While its core staffing business could keep growth engines chugging, higher contribution from global tech solutions could power margins.

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