Saturday, May 2, 2009

HotSpot to sport Spice brand soon

India’s second-largest mobile phone retail chain Spice Group’s HotSpot will soon go for a brand change.


Sources close to the company said that HotSpot will soon sport the Spice brand, as the BK Modi-promoted group is looking to consolidate all its IT and telecom retail operations under a single brand.

Earlier this year, the Spice Group had completed a 100% buyout of the Indian arm of Dubai-based IT and mobile retail outlet, Cellucom. The rebranding drive will also see all Cellucom stores being brought under the Spice banner. Currently, there are about 117 Cellucom stores in the country.

So far, the 520 HotSpot stores in the country primarily sold cell phones, telecom connections and accessories, while Cellucom offers IT products such as laptops, PDAs and accessories, besides mobile handsets. With the rebranding, all 637 Spice retail stores will sell both telecom and IT products.

HotSpot CEO Sanjeev Mahajan told ET that in addition to launching new stores, the company was also looking at acquisitions to scale up its operations and expand to new cities and towns. “We are already in talks with few players who will add value to our existing business,” he said. The company is learnt to be investing close to Rs 300 crore this year to expand its retail operations.

The Spice Group plans to expand its retail presence to cover 100 cities and increase its stores to about 1,000 by the end of this year. HotSpot trails The Mobile Store, which has about 1,300 stores across the country, in the mobile retail market.

According to Mr Mahajan, HotSpot would use a combination of company-owned-company-operated model and the franchisee model for expansion. The stores will also leverage the value-added service (VAS) portfolio of Spice Group’s VAS arm Cellebrum that provides services such as background music, ring back tones and location-based services, he added.


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