Radhakishan Damani, the Man who made a 3.09 trillion worth retail business chain "DMart "

Age is just a number to start your dream and start your business, this is proved by Radhakishan Damani who started his business at the age of 45. He is a name synonymous with retail success in India. Damani has a journey that is as inspiring as it is instructive. 

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Who is Radhakishan Damani?

Damani is a Billionaire Investor of India, His full name is Radhakishan Shivkishan Damani, popularly known as RK Damani. He is a business magnate and India’s largest chain of Hypermarkets DMart Founder (founder of Avenue Supermarts Limited). He is counted as one of the most successful entrepreneurs in India. He also owns Bright Star Investments Limited, an investment firm through which he manages the Damani Portfolio. The Bloomberg Billionaire Index ranked the DMart Owner as the 98th Richest Person in the World in 2021.

Let’s learn about the journey of Radhakishan Damani to become a player businessman. His story is a testament to his unwavering determination, astute business acumen, and unyielding spirit.

Early life and struggles

Damani didn’t belong to a wealthy family. He was born on March 15, 1954, in a Marwari stockbroking family. His family used to live in a small single-bedroom apartment in Mumbai since his father worked on Dalal Street.

Radhakishan pursued commerce at the University of Mumbai but did not complete his degree and dropped out just after one year.

He had an auto-ancillary trading business, which was not doing well. Due to the sudden death of his father,  he shut down his auto ancillary trading business and joined his family's stockbroking business. However, at that time he had no interest in the stock market.

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At the age of 32, Damani began trading in the stock market, a decision that set the stage for his future success. He learned by first observing everything and then getting into the trading ring. The late 1980s and early 1990s were a tumultuous period for Damani, due to the highly volatile Indian stock market. He faced numerous challenges and learned valuable lessons along the way.

He was practising short-selling of stocks by being a part of the bear cartel. Damani became an investor and broker. 

Although He started his career as a stockbroker, he soon understood that if he wanted to earn money from the market, then he had to invest and trade his own money in the stock market. In 1980, he started investing in stocks, and was popular with the name Mr. White and White.

Radhakishan Damani.jpeg

The 1990s, Harshad Mehta Scam

The early 1990s brought a significant turning point in Damani's career. It was the time when stocks were inflated by Harshad Mehta, a big name in the industry at that point before he was exposed for his illegible means of doing business.

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Damani is well known for his battle of Bull Vs Bear with Harshad Mehta in 1992. It started when Harshad Mehta was continuously buying certain selected stocks taking the share price over the roof every day. Damani was convinced that the share price was being artificially inflated and had to come down but the supply of money to Harshad Mehta was unending. 

It is said that Damani was on the brink of bankruptcy at the time the Harshad Mehta scam expose’ came. He was losing money on a daily basis and finally, it was an article by Business Journalist Sucheta Dalal in Times of India that exposed the entire scam leading to the debacle of Harshad Mehta's stock. Despite incurring losses initially, Damani's strategy paid off.

This revelation not only vindicated Damani's approach but also earned him substantial profits, and solidified his reputation as a savvy investor.

He was Inspired by value investor Chandrakant Sampat, Damani shifted his focus to long-term investing. He invested in multinational FMCG companies which yielded significant returns. This period also saw him making astute investments in companies like Century Textiles, Indian Cement, VST Industries, and others, further cementing his status as a successful investor.

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Foundation of Dmart 

He started a franchise in 1999 named Apna Bazaar. The franchise was actually a department store in Nerul. But, Damani was not satisfied with the business model.

He had an interest in the retail business. In 2001, After earning a lot of money and reaching such great heights, he suddenly decided to quit the stock market business and entered the retail industry. He ventured into the retail industry on his own terms.

He founded Avenue Supermarts Ltd., the parent company of DMart, and launched the first store in 2002 in Powai, Mumbai. After successfully capturing Mumbai, Dmart expanded and opened a new outlet in Ahmedabad in 2007. By 2010, Dmart had established 25 stores across the Western region. Its revenue had soared to 3,334 CR in 2013. It became the third-largest brand retail chain in India in 2013 (following Reliance Retail and Future Group). 

He promised to pay his vendors in 11 days instead of 21 days to get products cheaply. In the early days, they offered a minimum 3% discount. By 2021, Dmart operated 234 stores in India and owned 80% of them. Today, Dmart has over 330 stores and a market cap of 3.09 trillion. It is counted in the World's most valuable companies and the first retail chain in India to cross the billion-dollar market profitably. 

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Why Dmart is a succesful business?

DMart's unique business model, which emphasized owning properties instead of renting or leasing, It targeted residential areas with a focus on the middle class and offered a wide range of daily essentials at competitive prices. This approach quickly set it apart from its competitors. By 2017, DMart's IPO was oversubscribed 104 times, and the stock price soared by 447% post-listing, making Damani one of the richest individuals in the world.

“Daily Discounts Daily Savings” is the tagline of DMart which directly caters to a huge middle-class population of India.

Damani’s ability to identify and capitalize on market opportunities, his keen understanding of the Indian middle class, and his strategic foresight have been instrumental in DMart's success.

Conclusion

Radhakishan Damani is often referred to as "Mr. White and White" due to his signature attire of a white shirt paired with white pants. He is a simple man behind a billionaire business. His simple yet distinctive look reflects his straightforward and focused approach to business. 

In 2017, Damani went public and became the 4th Richest Person in India in 2020. His net worth is $20.9 billion ranking 91 globally, as of 7th June 2024.

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Damani's journey from a stock market trader to the founder of one of India's largest retail chains is nothing short of inspirational. His story is a testament to the power of perseverance, strategic thinking, and an unwavering commitment to one's vision. As DMart continues to grow and evolve, His legacy as a visionary entrepreneur and a shrewd businessman will undoubtedly inspire current and future generations.

Sources

https://www.theceo.in/leaders/top-ceo-profiles/radhakishan-damani-the-indian-billionaire-investor-behind-dmart

https://www.jagranjosh.com/general-knowledge/radhakishan-damani-biography-early-life-career-investments-current-position-recent-news-and-more-1661358338-1

https://www.forbes.com/profile/radhakishan-damani-1/?sh=7bca52476c40

https://www.cheggindia.com/earn-online/dmart-owner-radhakishan-damani/#:~:text=Born%20in%20a%20Maheshwari%20Marwari,known%20about%20Radhakishan%20Damani's%20Education.

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Written By Manvi