let us reach the lakeside suburb of Powai. Here in the year 2002, a relatively small grocery retail store was started, it was called DMart. Little did anyone knew that this single store will one day transform into one of India’s largest & most profitable hypermarket chain. Now DMart operates over 230 large hypermarkets across India. Even the share price of DMart’s holding company, Avenue Supermarts has increased by a whopping 600% since its IPO in 2017. This tremendous rise of DMart started with just one man, Radhakishan Damani. During his childhood, Radhakishan Damani grew up in a small one-room flat. During his youth, he dropped out of college to venture into the business of ball bearings, and soon his new business started picking up. But at the age of 32, one sad news changed his entire life. The sudden demise of his father forced him to shut down the bearing business and join his brother in their family stock-broking business. Radhakishan Damani later got interested in trading & investing, and he started learning strategies from people around him. Time moved on, and then came the transforming 1990’s.
The year was 1991 and in the Indian parliament, the then finance minister Manmohan Singh said that “No power on earth can stop an idea whose time has come.” And with this historic budget speech, began the process of liberalization of the Indian economy. That was also the time, Harshad Mehta ruled the Indian stock market, and each day the stock prices started scaling to newer heights. Sensex from April 1991 and April 1992, went into a frenzy and increased by a whopping 274%. During that time, Radhakishan Damani understood that this sudden upsurge of prices has been artificially propped up and this price bubble might burst soon. Therefore believing on his assessment, he took one of the biggest risk of his life, when the whole of India was buying stocks, he started short-selling them. Due to which every increase in stock price started making a huge loss for him. But then came that infamous day, August 6, 1992, the scam was caught and markets crashed like never before. Radhakishan Damani’s analysis finally proved correct, which earned him enormous profit.
Establishment of DMart
By 1995, Radhakishan Damani also became the biggest individual shareholder of HDFC Bank. During that time when he was well established in the stock markets, he saw a new dream. His ambition was now to enter the retail industry, and soon Radhakishan Damani took the first step to achieve his dream. Apna Bazar, the Co-Operative Departmental Store chain, mainly located around Mumbai. The year was 1999, and Radhakishan Damani opened a franchise of Apna Bazar in the outskirts of Mumbai. This small store became the stepping stone of his retail journey. Now 22 years later, his company DMart generates an annual revenue of over 23,700 crores. While he has also emerged as one of the top 100 richest people in the world.
DMart’s and Radhakishan Damani’s business & investment empire.
We will begin our journey in the desert sands of Rajasthan, here the company operates 8 stores, moving to Madhya Pradesh here the group operates 14 stores, while in nearby Chhattisgarh we will find 5 DMart stores. Now let’s travel to the green fields of Punjab, here the company operates 7 stores, while in the NCR region two more DMart stores are operated. From Northern India, let’s travel to the west coast and reach the colorful & vibrant Gujarat. Gujarat has the 2nd highest number of DMart stores in India as the company operates 42 stores across the state. While in Daman, the company operates 1 store. Now from the beaches of Daman, let’s take a cruise and travel to southern India. We will reach the shores of scenic Karnataka. Here the company operates 21 stores, moreover, in the region we also will find 27 DMart stores in Telangana, 21 stores in Andhra Pradesh, and 12 stores in the southernmost state of India, Tamil Nadu. From Tamil Nadu, lets us fly back to Maharastra. Here in the state, the company operates its highest number of 74 stores.
Store ownership model
The secret of DMARt’s success, along with its highly competitive pricing, can be attributed to the company’s ‘store ownership model’. The company owns or holds long leases on almost all its store properties, therefore the company is protected against the fluctuation of rental rates. Furthermore, the company now also holds a tremendous property portfolio of over 8.8 million square feet of premium retail space across India. To supplement this strategy, recently the company has acquired, more than Rs 1,000 crore worth of properties across India, including multiple Rs. 100 crores valued retail spaces in Mumbai’s Goregaon & Chembur area. Looking closer into Radhakishan Damani’s personal investment portfolio, we will find that his major investments include the cigarettes company, VST Industries; the integrated cements company, India Cements; one of the leading NBFC, Sundaram Finance; Tata groups’ retail enterprise, Trent; and also India’s beer industry leader, United Breweries.
Moreover, in 2015 Radhakishan Damani had also acquired the luxurious Radisson Blu resort in Alibaug near Mumbai, for around Rs. 135 crores. Furthermore, along with DMart expanding retail business, the company has also worked for multiple social projects which include supporting Digital Literacy & Reading Programmes in municipal schools. And had also aided more than 95,000 students in FY 18-19. Now, at the completion of this captivating journey which began with just one store; DMart has certainly evolved into one of the biggest success stories. Therefore in the end, all I can say, this was DMart’s & Radhakishan Damani’s fascinating investment & business empire
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