Spencer’s Retail, the retail arm of RP-Sanjiv Goenka Group flagship CESC Ltd, is hopeful of chasing profitability by becoming Ebitda-positive this fiscal. Ebitda refers to earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation. CESC Ltd in its annual report maintains that for FY-17, Spencer’s improved performance achieved a positive Ebitda for seven consecutive months. As a result, the Ebitda loss for the year was contained to ₹17.10 crore against ₹52.80 crore in the previous year (FY-16). According to Shashwat Goenka, Sector Head, Spencer’s Retail will focus on higher margin offerings such as apparels, general merchandise and homeware. It will also explore private labels as a strategy in segments where a gap exists. (Typically, private labels are said to have better margins.) “We are hopeful of turning profitable this year. By profits, I mean we should be Ebitda-positive. The jump for us between operating profit and PBT will not take very long. We will continue to focus on top-line growth and improve margins,” Goenka said, adding that operating margins have also improved and we have been able to curtail a lot of costs,” he added. Spencer’s, since Goenka took over the reins, has seen improved performance with an increase in its top-line and reduction in losses. In FY-17, its top-line moved up by 12 per cent year-on-year to over ₹2,021 crore (from ₹1,805 crore in FY-16). The net loss came down by 9 per cent to ₹129 crore, down from ₹142 crore in the year-ago period. For Spencer’s, the ratio of food and FMCG to apparel, electronics and general merchandise now stands at 79:21. Previously, it was 83:17. During 2016-17, Spencer’s registered a same store sales growth of around 9 per cent, with average revenue per square feet of ₹1,576 per month against ₹1,452 per month in FY-15.