Online D2C and retail meat brand Fipola has shut operations. The brand had announced aggressive expansion plans in January 2022 with a capital infusion of Rs.40 crores.
As of December 2021, it had 48 stores across Chennai, Coimbatore, Hyderabad, Vellore, Puducherry and Bengaluru, according to a media report. It had revealed plans to have 100 stores by the end of March 2022 across its existing South markets and 250 across India by 2023-24. Fipola had revealed actor Nayanthara as brand ambassador in August 2022.
According to the Founder and Managing Director Sushil Kanugolu, Fipola was forced to shut operations as it was unable to raise funds owing to unfavourable market conditions.
Speculations were rife with vendors who had not been paid their dues venting their ire on social media in the second half of 2022, notably after the appointment of the brand ambassador. While not all were vocal, Medianews4u.com gathered that those standing in wait included branding, advertising and other vendors, and even staff. Some claimed, with proof, that the company repeatedly defaulted on payments.
When MediaNews4u.com approached Kanugolu in November 2022, he underlined that the intention was to raise funds or liquidate retail assets to clear dues by January 2023. By the time, he claimed that all dues to employees had been cleared – prior to Diwali.
The strategy was to downsize operations until realising funding while simultaneously finding potential buyers to sell a portion of the retail assets.
By February 2023, retail stores of Fipola had been closed indefinitely and online services (both direct as well as the through delivery apps like Swiggy and Zomato) ceased to be operational.
Kanugolu confirmed to Medianews4u.com that the brand isn’t operational anymore. “As it stands, we are not able to raise the required funds due to the bad market. We have moved to liquidating the assets of the company. As already informed we are an asset-rich company and not a tech startup. We have informed everyone and our channel partners, vendors etc. that the liquidation process has begun and that everyone shall be settled by April,” he said.
Fipola Retail India was founded in December 2016. The brand had been in the news for its extensions Fipola Grill House and Fipola On Wheels.
With inputs from V Umanath, Neethu Mohan.