Friday, January 22, 2010

Bharti Wal-Mart Sets Up Farm Produce Sourcing Centre

Bharti Wal-Mart Pvt. Ltd. said Wednesday it has set up its first centre in the northern Indian state of Punjab to source farm produce for its wholesale cash-and-carry business as well as for the retail stores under the 'Easyday' brand.

Bharti Wal-Mart is a joint venture between the world's largest retailer by revenue, Wal-Mart Stores Inc., and India's Bharti Enterprises Ltd., which is the parent company of the country's largest telecommunications company by users, Bharti Airtel Ltd.

The joint venture currently operates a single wholesale store in Punjab.

The agricultural co-operative centre aims to create "a robust aggregating, handling, packaging and delivering system of fresh produce," to the wholesale store that operates under the name Best Price, as well as the 'Easyday' stores, Bharti Wal-Mart said in an e-mailed statement.

The chain of retail stores in India, under the "Easyday" brand, is run by Bharti Retail, another unit of Bharti Enterprises.

Indian laws don't allow multiple-brand retailers, such as U.S.-based Wal-Mart, to sell directly to consumers. But they can run wholesale operations and provide back-end support to local retailers.

The centre will "directly link farmers to consumers, providing them access to quality produce at low prices," said Raj Jain, managing director and chief executive at Bharti Wal-Mart.

Designers explore tier-II towns as orders dry up in west

Small towns and emerging markets are fast-replacing Paris and New York as the hotspots for Indian fashion designers such as Anamika Khanna, Sabyasachi Mukherjee and Rajesh Pratap Singh.

With the western world still struggling to come out of its worst recession in several decades, the fashion fraternity is now venturing into small cities and towns in India with cheaper offerings and targeting newer markets in Latin America and Asia. Many designers have opted out of international fashion weeks that charge exorbitant entry fees to focus funds towards what they see as emerging markets outside the big five cities. Anamika withdrew from the European market this year, though she continues to retail in Kuwait and Dubai. “It was a case of growing too big too fast in Europe,” the Kolkata-based designer said.

Rajesh Pratap Singh said he explored better opportunities in new markets such as Latin America last year after facing a lot of order cancellations over the past two seasons. Manish Arora, who operates through a subsidiary in Europe, found new stockists across Bahrain, Singapore and Italy and cut prices by 10-12 %.

But the real hip story is India. Sabyasachi Mukherjee is doing shows in cities such as Chandigarh and Nagpur and has launched an ethno-pret (ready-towear ) line that plays in a lower price band of Rs 5,000-15 ,000. The strategy helped his business expand 65% this year to Rs 22 crore. “The middle class is getting more affluent and it would be foolish not to capitalise on this growing market. I intend to launch a sub brand in a lower price category that will exponentially increase my audience by next year,” he said.

Mumbai-based Krishna Mehta is also overwhelmed by the demand in smaller cities such as Kochi, Vijayawada, Baroda and Rajkot where she entered this year with products priced 25% lower than her retail prices a year ago. She said that the label’s turnover has multiplied thrice in one year and production capacity almost quadrupled. “Organised designer retail in India is ready for a scale game for the first time,” said Delhi-based designer Raghavendra Rathore.

The likes of Mukherjee and Manish Arora now plan to attract venture capital investors by the end of the year to fund expansion. One reason behind the domestic designers’ sudden penchant for cheaper offerings is the fear of foreign brands. “In order to compete with foreign brands, we have brought down the average price bracket of Manish Arora’s western wear to Rs 10, 000-20 ,000 from above Rs 20,000 earlier,” said Deepak Bhagwani, director of Three Clothing Company, which owns the label.

Besides extending into accessories, jewellery and home textiles, Indian designers are increasingly seeing business through design collaborations in India.

While Mukherjee has tied up with real estate developer Samira Habitat to design five luxury villas in Alibaug, Rajesh Pratap Singh has several multiplex interior projects in the pipeline. Manish Arora has launched a crockery collection with home accessories chain Good Earth in addition to his sub-brand Fish Fry that was licensed to Reebok just as Aki Narula is collaborating with sports lifestyle brand PUMA. Rajesh Pratap Singh also plans to add sev

LS Retail to set up CoE in India

LS Retail, a leading Dynamics Retail Solutions provider, has chosen Dynamic Vertical Solutions (DVS), business management applications provider, to set up its “Retail Centre of Excellence” (CoE) in India.

The “Retail Centre of Excellence”, is an initiative to provide retailers of all sizes insights into usage and application of cutting edge technologies in the retail industry and would showcase an end-to-end solution roadmap for the retail industry.

Through the Retail Centre of Excellence DVS would demonstrate the strengths of its retail offerings provide thought leadership on industry issues and promote usage of ground breaking technologies making it a centre of learning for the Indian retail community.

Gunnar Gunnarsson, CEO of LS Retail said “LS Retail is very proud to announce DVS as our chosen Retail Centre of Excellence in India. We are confident that the retail industry in India, and globally, will benefit from the technological educational and best practice learning that this Centre will provide.”

Microsoft India, the Indian subsidiary office of Microsoft Redmond, has given its full support to this initiative. DVS which works very closely with Microsoft as one of its primary Principal Partners will look to support Microsoft Dynamics Partners in India and across the globe to penetrate and support the Indian Retail Market.

Rajan Anandan, Managing Director, Microsoft India said, “The Retail Centre of Excellence will be a much required platform and space for businesses to interact, learn and adopt best of breed retail technology solutions. The CoE will act as a facilitator for the retail industry, in its quest for achieving competitive advantage in the market place.”

Through the newly created Retail Centre of Excellence, DVS will deliver business value to retailers seeking to improve their bottom line profitability.

The 'Retail Centre of Excellence' will be fully operational to go live in the First Quarter of the next financial year (April-June 2010).
Thursday, January 21, 2010

Future group's home retailing sees turnaround

Kishore Biyani’s Future Group has seen a turnaround in home retailing after months of decline, on the back of improved consumer sentiments and focused merchandising plans, a key group executive said.

Home retailing was a laggard among the group’s flagship Pantaloon Retail’s three business segments — value, lifestyle and home. The home segment registered nearly 10 per cent fall every month since November 2008. It had stopped giving same-store numbers since June 2009.

Same-store sales compares sales of stores that have been in the business for a year or more, which allow investors to determine what portion of new sales has come from sales growth and what portion from opening new stores. Future group’s home retailing segment comprises furniture and furnishings, electronics and durables, among others.

However, the home segment has been seeing over 10 per cent growth in same-store sales since November 2009, said Mahesh Shah, chief executive of Home Town, a home improvement retail chain of the Group. “Positive sentiment is back. A lot of people are buying new homes and such homes being delivered. The increase in real estate activity has had direct impact on our business,’’ he said.

In terms of revenue growth, the home segment is likely to see a jump of 15 to 20 per cent in the current financial year, Shah said. The segment had seen a fall of 12 per cent in 2008-09.

“The slowdown helped us to focus on individual categories and individual consumers, as to what they want. We followed a 360-day approach to the business,’’ said Vivek Biyani, director of Home Solutions Retail (India) Ltd, which runs formats such as Home Town and eZone, among others.

The chain launched new categories such as plywood wardrobes, plywood kitchens, solidwood furnitures, fabric sofas and marble dining sets to cater to growing demand for such products in Indian cities. The chain also launched eight-seater dining sets in cities such as Delhi and Kolkata where homes are bigger in size. “We are selling 1,200 wardrobes a week now compared with 350 a week earlier,’’ Biyani says.

“While others were concentrating on cost cutting, we were using our learning during the slowdown,’’ Shah says.

According to Shah, the average spending in Home Town has gone up by eight to 10 per cent in January, compared to the same month last year. He expects it to go up to 20 per cent in the coming months. “Due to improvement in sentiments and increase in our merchandise, customers are buying two-three products instead of the one they used to buy earlier,’’ he adds.

Home Town on Wednesday opened a store of over two lakh sq ft in Vikhroli, a central suburb of Mumbai, taking its store tally to 10. The chain claims it is the country’s largest home improvement store. It has invested Rs 30 crore on the store and another Rs 10 crore on merchandise. It plans to open three more such stores in the country.

“Last year, our strategy was increasing top line and making margins was easier, as commodity prices were down. Now, since prices have shot up, we want to increase volumes and increase our margins,’’ Shah says.

Kraft-Cadbury deal: What it means for India?

One of the world's largest food companies, Kraft Foods, has finally bitten into sweet chocolate with its bid for Cadbury. But in the Indian market, where Cadbury is synonymous with chocolate, it’s time now to see both Toblerone and Dairy Milk on the same rack.

Kraft has finally managed to take a bite of Cadbury through its $19.6 billion bid and emerge as the No 1 foodmaker. Once the deal goes through, Kraft, known for its brands like Oreo and Tang, will get into the Indian market, Kraft has been eyeing since a very long time now.

CY Pal, non-executive chairman of Cadbury, said, “Kraft has very little presence in India at the moment, while Cadbury has an extremely strong presence in India. We are the market leaders in India and therefore it would benefit Kraft immensely in terms of broadening the base of the business in India.”

Kraft will get access not only to Cadbury's five manufacturing units here, but also over 1.2 million retail outlets spread across the country. In addition Kraft is also likely to set up their own manufacturing units to make milk products and biscuits.

But even for Cadbury, which has over 72 per cent share in the Rs 2000 crore chocolate market, it's sweet deal, say experts. Cadbury can now enter newer and high margins segments, courtesy Kraft's portfolio of over 40 super brands, many of them in the premium segment.

Ashish Nanda, partner of retail and consumer products at Ernst & Young, said, “Kraft is not new in the country, especially in urban markets where it is well known. So, the moment the portfolio is expanded, the entire relevance to the trade channel increases channel partner and economic viability improves.”

But apart from multinationals Nestle, homegrown company Britannia, which has made fortunes selling biscuits and dairy products, will also have to fight world's largest biscuit brand Oreo and Kraft Cheese. Well, in this competition, Indian consumers will now surely have much more in the plate than they can actually gulp.
Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Tescos to open first cash & carry store in 2010

Tesco, the third largest retailer in the world, is planning to open its first wholesale cash & carry outlet in India this year, its senior official said here. "We will open our first wholesale cash & carry outlet in India this year," Tesco International and Internal Communications Director Greg Sage told PTI.

Tesco already has presence in India through a joint venture with Tatas. These stores are located in Mumbai, Bengaluru, Ahmedabad and Chennai. Greg said "we see a huge opportunity for future growth in India".

Corporate and Legal Affairs Director and Tesco Board member Lucy Neville-Rolfe said Tesco operated 4,331 stores worldwide and employed 470,000 people in 14 countries. Besides India, the other international markets were the UK retail giant Tesco has presence include Thailand, Poland, Hungary, South Korea, China, Ireland, Malaysia, Slovakia, Turkey, Japan and the US.

"We continue to expand our international business and are investing in banking, mobile phones and other retail services," he said. Each of Tesco's international businesses also has a community plan, which include initiatives to help consumers to be green and meet "our commitment to be a zero-carbon business by 2050", he added.
Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Carrefour sees Future in India, may ink JV soon

Carrefour, Europe’s biggest retail chain, has agreed with Kishore Biyani of Pantaloon Retail to set up franchisee stores in

India after six years of wandering in the world’s second-fastest growing nation for partnerships, including with Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Retail and real estate group DLF.

The Paris-based retailer, which is seeing revenues in its home country falling due to a tightening of spending by consumers, is expected to sign on the dotted line by March, said an executive familiar with the development.

When the deal with India’s retail king Biyani is formally announced, Carrefour would be the third among the big names entering the $390-billion Indian retail market after the Beast of Bentonville, Wal-Mart, and UK’s Tesco.

Kishore Biyani, CEO of Future Group, declined comment. Carrefour did not respond to an email from ET.

Carrefour, Wal-Mart and other big retailers from the developed world are keen to have a presence in India despite regulatory obstacles, hoping that the laws would be eased as it happened in the telecom and other sectors. Also, the cleaning up of excesses in the industry, after the exuberance of the past decade, is giving hopes of a more saner approach to business. In the last downturn, many retailers, including Reliance Retail, the AV Birla group’s More, which went on a spree in setting up outlets had to shutter many of them and a prominent name, Subhiksha, went bust. The losses continue for many, though it has slowed.

The Carrefour franchisee is likely to be a part of the Future Value Retail, a 100% unit of Pantaloon Retail, which owns hypermarket chains Big Bazaar and Food Bazaar. The Big Bazaar, which has 109 stores, contributes 65% of the Future Group’s $2-billion total revenues. Food Bazaar, a supermarket chain has 152 stores.

Carrefour has two entities in India — Carrefour WC & C India and Carrefour India Master Franchise Company.

Although the franchisee stores may be dealing with similar products as some of Mr Biyani’s existing outlets, it would serve the affluent upper middle-income and rich customers who don’t look for economy or hesitate to pay more for the experience of shopping in a luxurious atmosphere.

This would pit the Carrefour-Biyani combination against the Raheja group’s HyperCity that sells expensive products such as imported wine and whiskey.

Thierry Garnier, executive director in charge of international partnerships at Carrefour, is leading the negotiation with Kishore Biyani’s son and Future Group director Rakesh Biyani, the official said. Sameer Sain, CEO of Future Capital Holdings and a former Goldman Sachs banker, is helping Biyanis close the deal.

Negotiations get tough as parties attempt to factor in the future arrangements anticipating changes in rules.

Currently, Indian rules permit foreign direct investment in the wholesale business, which supply to other retailers, but not directly to customers, popularly known as cash-and-carry. Foreign investment is barred in multi-brand retail stores, while the likes of single-brand such as Nike and Reebok can be owned up to 51%. Multi-brand international ret

Reliance Jewels to open 100 stores by 2013

Mukesh Ambani owned Reliance Retail Ltd plans to increase it's branded gold jewellery outlets to 100 within the next thee years.

The first store was launched in here in early 2009. Sprawled over three storeys and covering an area of 6,000 sq ft, the Reliance Jewels store at Bangalore proffered as many as 10,000 designs of elegantly created jewelry pieces. It is learnt that the jewelry collection here, has been assimilated from different parts of India. The availability of a wide range of gold and diamond jewelry makes Reliance Jewels a one-stop shopping venue for buyers of fine jewelry.

The competition in the branded jewelry segment in India is about to intensify with announcement of RRL. Mukesh Ambani owned Reliance Retail Limited ventured into “gems” and “jewelry trade” because of the never ending demand of jewels in India.

By the end of December 2009, Reliance increased the number of store launches for Reliance Jewels to 10. The multi-format retailer now aims to expand by opening jewelry stores in Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Dhanbad, Gurgaon, Hyderabad, Jalandhar, Jamnagar, Jamshedpur, Jodhpur, Ludhiana, Mumbai, New Delhi and Vizag adhering to core Reliance Jewels’ strategy of expansion through saturation.

“We are upbeat about our same store sales growth. The past eight months have been very good for us... with 22 per cent growth. And I think this is the best time to expand as the rentals have gone down to some extent. In the next 3 years, we will be scaling the Reliance Jewel stores to 100,” Reliance Retail Lifestyle’s CEO Bijou Kurien told PTI.

The company has plans to add 14 more by this fiscal-end to its existing 10 outlets of Reliance Jewels, which sells gold and diamond jewellery under private label RJ. “We have announced to open 10 more Reliance Jewels stores and six Time Out store by the end March with a total investment of Rs. 150 crore,” Kurien said. The new stores will come up in New Delhi, Ahmedabad, Andhra Pradesh and Mumbai, where it already has its lifestyle outlets. Besides it will also open a few shops in Kochi and Bengaluru.

All its outlets of Reliance Jewels are large format stores ranging from 2,500 sq ft to 15,000 sq ft. As per the plan, the gold jewelry at all Reliance Jewels’ stores will consist of Kolkata Filigree, Rajkot minakari jewelry, Kundan from Jaipur, Temple jewelry from Kerala, Jadau from Amritsar and so on. Even in Diamond jewelry, Reliance Jewels will offer only the best. One will find the widest variety of Diamond jewelry designs here ranging from simple daily wear to party wear items to celebrate every special occasion in a person’s life.

Reliance Retail hiring professionals from Thailand

Reliance Retail is slowly filling its top slots with professionals from Thailand, a country whose retail market once used to resemble India’s with its freshly-minted organised players hemmed in by a well-entrenched network of neighbourhood stores.

The firm has already hired at least 10 people in key roles — all of them from Thailand’s Tesco Lotus. Around 20-25 more are expected to join in the coming months to run its value formats, confirmed two persons on condition of anonymity since they are not authorised to speak to the media.

The Thai professionals will be heading key functions such as operations, commercial, IT, supply chain and HR. ET had reported last month that Gwyn Sundhagul, former chief marketing officer and director at Tesco Lotus, has joined as CEO of value formats at Reliance Retail.

Titima Bantrapiwat has joined as head of supply chain and Sansahee Kubena has come on board as head of HR.

“We engage with global and domestic talent in line with requirements and identified gaps across levels in the organisation. We would not like to comment on any specific appointments,” said a Reliance Retail spokesman said. Meanwhile, K Radhakrishnan who was heading value format and Ratan Agarwal, head of HR for the value format, have left the company.

Raghu Pillai who virtually ran the show as president for strategy at the value format has been shifted to the chairman’s office to oversee alliances and joint ventures.

Many of these Thai professionals are being hired on the company’s payroll, while others are being brought in on limited-term contracts. The incoming team has been mandated to study the company’s systems and processes closely, identify the gaps and suggest remedial measures, said another person familiar with the retailer’s plans.

Reliance has been in talks with various global retail chains for a strategic partnership. ET had reported on its talks with French retail chain Carrefour to establish a partnership in the value retail business.

The infusion of foreign talent is happening in the division that runs the so-called value retail formats —Reliance Super and Reliance Fresh and Reliance Hyper. The company, which started operations in 2006 and now runs about 1,000 stores across formats, also runs a line of specialty stores such as Trends, Timeout, Digital, Footprints and Jewels. Value format stores accounts for more than 70% of the company’s revenues.

Talent shortage

India’s $37 billion organized retail industry, which enjoys only a fraction of the estimated $400 billion retail market, faces huge human resources challenge, as it scrambles to fill up ranks with able and experienced professionals. The spotlight on management talent is even harsher. Many retailers, who undertook a scorching pace of expansion during the boom years, have been hurt badly since the onset of the economic slowdown. While one major retail chain, Subhiksha, went bankrupt, a few others reportedly came close.

Reliance Retail, a subsidiary of Reliance Industries Ltd, reported a loss of Rs 260.2 crore on a combined turnover of Rs 2,400 crore last fiscal. RIL chairman Mukesh Ambani emphasized t
Monday, January 18, 2010

Retailers offer freebies, discount to spur sales

For retailers, every occasion to celebrate is appropriate to do big business. This year, the Republic Day falls soon after weekend and top retailers are hiking their advertising and marketing spends by an additional 30% to 50% on offering huge discount offers, freebies to woo customers and spur sales. Before the last Republic Day, they were not so enthusiastic due to the economic slowdown, and rather preferred to maintain their consumer offers to certain categories only.

Big Bazaar, part of the Future Group, plans to launch Saalke Sabse Saste Chaar Din (the year’s most economical four days of shopping) offer between January 23 and 26, which will run across 120 Big Bazaar hypermarkets in 70 cities of India on many merchandise. Damodar Mall, group customers director, Future Group told FE, “After witnessing revival in footfalls since October last year , we are hiking expenditure for ads and marketing spends for this Republic Day over previous corresponding period by an additional 25% to 30%, and thereby cash in on the opportunity from weekend onwards as January 23 falls on a Saturday.”

“We hope to achieve 35% to 40% higher revenues through promotions during the Republic Day through innovative consumer offers apart from offering huge discounts on existing merchandise as well,” Mall added. The overall marketing budget by Big Bazaar was Rs 100 crore during the previous Republic Day, which included below-the-line advertisements, promotions and innovations, according to the Future Group spokesperson.

Meanwhile, Hypercity Retail India too plans to hike its marketing budget by over 50% for this Republic Day, over previous corresponding period, in launching innovative consumer offers on certain existing and new merchandise. This would include food, grocery and general merchandise, Ashutosh Chakradeo, head - food & grocery, Hypercity Retail ( India ) Ltd said.

Premium department store, Shopper’s Stop plans to launch new variety of ethnic apparels in private labels, which will be offered to customers at discounts with a value-for-money pricing strategy during the Republic Day. Besides, there could be offers on purchase of certain branded luxury perfumes and accessories as well, its president and CEO, Govind Shrikhande said. According to him, “Soon after New Year promotions, we feel Republic Day is the main driving force for spurring sales. Hence, we are upbeat about upcoming occasional celebrations and looking at increasing marketing spends.”

Reliance Retail loses out to VVF to acquire 3 Henkel brands


Mumbai-based VVF Ltd beat Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Retail to acquire three brands from detergent and home care company Henkel India, namely Aramusk and Moloy soaps and Mahabringol hair oil.

The move comes three months after VVF, the makers of Doy and Jo soaps and one of the world’s largest contract manufacturers of bar soaps, bought out Henkel’s plant at Tiljala, Kolkata.


Rashmin Joshi, president and director (consumer goods) of VVF, confirmed the development. “We have been looking at such acquisitions as part of our core growth strategy,” he added. Reliance Retail, which was keen to buy the three regional brands on the block to boost its private brands business, lost out because Henkel was keen to sell them off along with the plant.

“Reliance Retail was keen only on acquiring the three brands; so lost out to VVF,” an official directly involved with the development said.

The total deal is estimated at Rs 22-23 crore, with the plant accounting for Rs 17-18 crore, the official said.

Although the brands do not bring in much turnover at a national level, they are attractive local buys. Aramusk is among the oldest male deodorant soaps in the country with a loyal consumer, while Moloy sandalwood soap and Mahabringol hair oil have reasonable equity in eastern India.

“We plan to take the three acquired brands national in due course,” said Mr Joshi, pointing out that his Rs 1,350-crore company already covers one million outlets across the country. The Kolkata plant, which can produce 10,000 tonnes of soaps per year and a smaller amount of toothpaste, will be VVF’s eighth plant.

It will manufacture Henkel’s Margo, the three acquired brands, and its own Doy at the plant, Mr Joshi said.

The Chennai-based Henkel India, 51% owned by Düsseldorf, Germany-based Henkel group, put the three brands on the block last year. Media reports had said Marico and Emami too were interested in Aramusk and Moloy brands.

The company wanted to prune its portfolio to focus on flagship brands Henko and Mr White (both laundry care products), Pril dishwasher, Margo soap, Fa deodorants and Neem toothpaste.

Alongside, Henkel — which also makes haircare brands Igora, Bonacure, Glatt and Palette and Bref surface cleaners — also decided to divest the Kolkata plant to concentrate on marketing.

Henkel had acquired the plant along with Aramusk and Moloy brands one decade ago when it bought out Shaw Wallace’s consumer care division, which included Calcutta Chemicals and Detergents India.

Henkel now has only one plant in Pondicherry for manufacturing its laundry and home care products. About a dozen contract manufacturers make the rest of its products as the company wants to focus on marketing and distribution.

Apart from soaps brands Doy, Doy Aloe Vera and Jo and contact manufacturing, VVF also makes oleochemicals, a key ingredient for soaps and cosmetics. In mid-2008, VVF had acquired Henkel’s soap manufacturing plant in Poland. It was the first European facility of the company with a global capacity of 300,000 metric tonnes.
Sunday, January 17, 2010

Target Corporation to sell India Operations to Wipro

IT giant Wipro is all set to buy US-based Target Corporation’s India captive technology centre located in Bangalore. Sources close to the deal revealed that Wipro has finished the due diligence exercise and the deal is likely to be announced this week.

Wipro is believed to have agreed to pay $60 million (around Rs 275 crore) for the centre, sources disclosed. Target Corp, in turn, has agreed to a long-term contract of assured business for the next 5 years, and the value for the same is estimated at $500 million.

TCS and Infosys were the other two Indian IT companies in the race to takeover Target’s India operation.

Target India, known as Target Technology Services India, is a wholly owned subsidiary of Minneapolis, US-based Target Corporation. The $65 billion Target owns and runs 1,744 stores in the US and is the second largest general merchandiser in the country. Target is an upscale discounter that provides quality, on-trend merchandise at attractive prices.

In addition, Target operates an online business, Target.com. Target, which started its India operation in May 2005, currently operates from three places in Bangalore – two offices in Embassy Golf Links and one in Manyata Technology Park, and has 2,000 people on its pay roll.

As per the deal its entire operation including employees will be taken over by Wipro.

The plan to hive off India operation was initiated in the second half of 2009 when Target decided to divest non-core businesses to shore up its financials. As US went deep into recession from the beginning of 2009, Target’s revenue and profits suffered. In April-June 2009 quarter, for example, its revenue at $15 billion was 2.6 per cent lower than same quarter previous year.   

Target’s India centre works as a captive operation supporting various activities of the retail chain. It provides administrative support, business analytics, supply chain management, finance and accounting, HR, call centre, global sourcing & planning etc.

Industry observers believe that Target India will be a good win for Wipro. The knowledge base and the skills available in Target India will help Wipro to offer similar services to other big retail clients beyond Target. And with the global retail sales slowly picking up, Target Corp is possibly the right target for the fast growing Indian IT giant.

Dominos Pizza (Jubilant Foodworks) IPO opens on Monday

The initial public offer of Jubilant Foodworks that runs the fastfood retail chain under the Dominos pizza brand in India will open for subscription from tomorrow.

The price band of the initial public offer (IPO), through which the company expects to raise up to Rs329 crore, has been fixed between Rs135 to Rs145 per equity.The issue closes on 20 January.

Jubilant Foodworks is hitting the capital market with an issue size of 2.26 crore equity shares of Rs10 each. At the upper end of price band, the offer is valued worth Rs328.72 crore.

"Jubilant Foodworks IPO would be an interesting case to watch as it represents the growing fastfood business in India," said Sudeep Bandyopadhyay, Group president, Finance, Spice Group.

The company has already roped in several anchor investors that includes Reliance MF, SBI MF, Blackrock, Canara Robeco MF and Fidelity for a total investment of Rs44.3 crore under its pre-IPO placement.

"Retail investors will look at rightly priced IPOs. The credibility of the promoter group and the pricing of the issue are the two most critical factors," Bandyopadhyay added.

Kotak Mahindra Capital Company is acting as the sole book running lead manager to the offer.The IPO comprises a fresh issue of 40 lakh equity shares and an offer for sale of 1.86 crore shares by India Pvt Equity Fund (Mauritius) and Indocean Pizza Holding. 
Friday, January 15, 2010

HyperCITY Strengthens Expansion Plans with its Fifth Hypermarket in India

HyperCITY Retail (I) Limited, today launched its much awaited store at Big Thane Shopping Centre, Ghodbunder Road, Thane. After the successful launch of four stores; in Mumbai, Vashi, Jaipur & Hyderabad; HyperCITY Thane is the fifth store in India and third in Mumbai.

Commenting on the launch of the Thane store, Mr. B S Nagesh, Vice Chairman, HyperCITY Retail said, “HyperCITY Thane is another milestone in our effort to bring about a retail revolution in India. HyperCITY provided Mumbai its largest & second largest hypermarket with Malad & Vashi, and now Thane’s largest as well. With Thane, HyperCITY has now over 3 Lac sq. ft. of retail space in Mumbai alone. HyperCITY Thane will enable customers to discover the next level of shopping; whilst continuing to provide unmatched affordability, guaranteed quality and a choice of products and service. HyperCITY Thane will also help customers save money by providing a “Free Bus Service”, which will pick & drop customers from their doorstep to HyperCITY & back. 2010 will see us launch more stores in Amritsar, and Bangalore.”

Spread across 1, 00,000 square feet of shopping area, the new HyperCITY store will provide Thaneites an international ambience where they can shop in comfort in a large, modern and exciting environment. HyperCITY Thane will carry a range of over 45,000 branded products catering to needs of the entire family. Shoppers will have the option to choose from a wide array of products in every category ranging from Fresh Produce, Food & Grocery, Home Care Products, Electronics & Home Appliances, Home-ware, Furniture, Apparel and Accessories, Lifestyle Products, Footwear and much more. At HyperCITY, one can get a taste of a scrumptious selection of breads, gourmet meats, seafood and foods from all over the world.

At HyperCITY, customers can ‘discover’ something new and exciting every time they walk into the store. The furniture section offers a range of stylish and contemporary furniture for your home at great value. Fully fitted concept rooms offer home solutions and ideas to customers. Sports enthusiast and health fitness conscious will find an exhaustive range of sports equipment from leading brands. With its wide selection of fashion clothing, accessories and footwear, HyperCITY offers everything that the customer needs to step out in style.

HyperCITY houses well-acclaimed international brands like Waitrose and Raleigh. The store has developed a suite of exclusive brands across all categories viz; Fresh Basket in Food, Ebano and Avorio in Home-ware, Maxit in Sports, Technix in Appliances, City, RiverInc in Fashion among others. They are available exclusively at HyperCITY which delivers increased value to customers by offering quality, uniqueness and price.

HyperCITY will provide ‘Free Bus Service’ to ferry interested customers free of charge from nearby residential societies in Thane to the store. The customers can avail of this Free Bus Service to the store for shopping and will be duly dropped back to the pickup point at set intervals of time, thus also contributing towards the eco-friendly initiative of ‘car pooling’ and helping the customers save money.

Now customers from Thane and beyond will have Discove
Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Vision Express forays into Mumbai

Vision Express, the 50-50 Joint Venture between Reliance Retail and Pearle Europe, expands its base nationally on the occasion of its first anniversary, by foraying into Mumbai. The opening of the first Vision Express store in Mumbai is in sync with the brand's aggressive retail expansion strategy which has helped Vision Express establish a formidable presence with 41 stores across 18 cities in the country within the first year of its operations.

The Mumbai outlet is the 41st Vision Express outlet store in the country and reiterates the reputation of Vision Express as one of the fastest growing eyewear retail chains in the country.

Having embarked on the retail journey in December 2008, Vision Express has been changing the landscape of the eyewear retail industry in India by opening world-class optical stores across the country. Within a short period of time, the company has established a sizeable geographic presence and introduced unique services, stylish international products and exacting quality standards, at very sharp prices unparalleled in India's eyewear industry.

The Mumbai foray is part of an overall aggressive expansion strategy by the format which will see wide-spread expansion in terms of cities and number of stores in existing cities in its aim to achieve numero uno optical retail chain in the country.

On the occasion of the launch, Mr. Guillame Brouwet, CEO, Vision Express said, "We are proud to complete a great and successful year of our presence in India. The phenomenal customer response to our stores has helped us bring the best of optical retail experience to the Indian consumers through our network of 41 stores across 18 cities within the first year of our operations.

With the thought of extending the unique Vision Express experience further, on our first anniversary in India we have launched our first store in Mumbai and will expand to several new geographies in the months ahead. Through our ever expanding network we promise to bring international quality and several first-of-its-kind essential and compelling services at very competitive prices to the Indian consumers."

The new store is located at Shop No. UG 33A, Next to Westside, Korum Mall, Near Cadbury Compund,Thane (West) - 400 606, Thane, Mumbai. Like all other Vision Express outlets this outlet too will offer a wide variety of fashionable and trendy optical products at affordable prices. Vision Express, Europe's largest optical retail chain will present its global optical retail expertise through this store to the consumers in Thane and surrounding areas.

With its experience in more than 25 countries, Vision Express aims to provide shoppers across India a never before experienced shopping delight through the expanding network of Vision Express stores. The core of Vision Express, "We see it your way" reflects the brand's mission to optimize customer experience and satisfaction.

The store launch in Thane will be supplemented by special 1st anniversary celebrations targeted at bringing additional benefits to the consumers including its highly popular free eye test for all customers. The free eye test at Vision Express is a

TOUCHMATE, world’s largest technology products range manufacturer enters India

TOUCHMATE M.E Free Zone Co., a Group comprising of 32 companies, established in 1988, the largest manufacturer & distributor for TOUCHMATE range of computers, accessories, peripherals, household appliances, mobile phones and software products, today announced its entry into Indian market, expanding its global presence even further.

TOUCHMATE which has over 1100 technology products under its brand has formed an Indian subsidiary by the name TOUCHMATE India Pvt. Ltd., to oversee and manage its Indian operations.

TOUCHMATE has heavily invested in R&D and has factories in China and Taiwan which enables it to develop innovative products and market them worldwide. It has recently opened an office in Hong Kong which shall handle its household appliances business. Besides, it has two state of the art PC assembling units that have a collective capacity of approx. 6000+ PCs per month.

Over the years the brand has established presence in 60 countries across the globe. It has sales office in Shenzhen, China to serve bulk order shipments.

TOUCHMATE is initially introducing its exciting range of media players; digital photo frames; HDMI Hard Disk Movie Player; DVD Boombox with LCD display & TV and Radio; designer notebook skins; fashionable notebook bags; Designer USB drives; Unique Internet multimedia optical mouse; Stylish web cameras; USB stereo headsets; and Bluetooth headsets in India.

According to Mr. Vasant Menghani, Founder & CEO, TOUCHMATE M.E Free Zone Co., “Indian market has impressed the world with its statistics and business potential lately. Technology usage and adoption has increased significantly in the recent past not just in metros but even in B & C class cities. This is primarily owing to a significant increase in disposable income of not just the upwardly mobile but middle-class population as well which has led to decent traction for technology products in all spheres of life across the country. The overall economic scenario in India presents a lucrative opportunity for us to be here.”

Mr. Alok Gupta, a veteran technology industry professional and a successful businessman in the domain has an equity stake in the Indian subsidiary and shall be heading the Indian operations as its Managing Director.

“Our first priority shall be to identify and align with channel partners and thus create a formidable network of distributors and resellers. We shall cohesively work with our channel partners and support them through our marketing and promotional schemes along with aggressive advertising and PR campaign nation-wide.

Besides this we shall tie-up with major brands in large format retail (LFR) i.e. chain of stores across cities, as well as successful individual retail brands Another important aspect on our priority list of Indian operations shall be to create a strong after sales support network,” explained Mr. Gupta.

Korean giant takes 15% in Home Shop 18

GS Home Shopping, South Korea’s largest and the world’s third largest home shopping network, has picked 15% stake in Network I8 promoted Home Shop 18 for $18.5 million. Home Shop 18 is a 24-hour shopping channel. Under the agreement between the two, GS Home Shopping will lend its expertise in the areas of sourcing, merchandising, broadcasting and logistics to scale up HomeShop18’s business in India.

Sundeep Malhotra, CEO, Home Shop18 told FE, “Home Shop 18 has raised $23.5 million as growth capital to fund the exceptional growth and rapid expansion of its business. GS Home Shopping earlier known as LG Home Shopping has invested $18.5 million while Network18 Holdings Ltd, which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Network18 Media and Investments Ltd, has pumped in $5 million.”

Network18, the parent company, will remain the majority shareholder in Home Shop18 with 51% stake whereas SAIF Partners, a private equity firm that provides growth capital to companies in Asia, has 31% stake.

The remaining 3% will be held with the employees in the form of employee stock options.

Haresh Chawla, group CEO, Network18, said, “We set up the business in April 2007 with SAIF Partners, which has been pioneering investors in home shopping in India and China, as an anchor investor. It is gratifying to see that one of the world’s largest home shopping companies has come on board as a strategic partner.”

Tae Soo Huh, CEO and president, GS Home Shopping, said, “Both HomeShop18 and GS Home Shopping are the pioneers of integrating media and retail in their respective countries and this partnership will be truly formidable. We aim to employ a collaborative approach to grow the home shopping segment in India with the HomeShop18 management team.”
Monday, January 11, 2010

Reliance Retail to open outlets at corporate premises

Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Retail has devised a new business model, under which it will open small outlets at the premises of large corporates.

The company, which is a subsidiary of Reliance Industries, will soon approach big corporate houses with this proposal to implement the novel business plan, a top Reliance Retail Official said.

"We will approach big corporate houses, where thousands of people work, with a proposal to open our small retail outlets there," the official told PTI.

Elaborating on the new business model, the official said RRL envisages an employee-friendly retail format. It will provide price discounts to employees in these stores.

In the first phase, RRL plans to open Reliance TimeOut Stores, engaged in books and music retailing business, in Mumbai and Delhi.

"Our initial plan is to start this with our TimeOut stores where we sell music, books and gifts.

Canon Plans Rs 55cr Marketing Drive for Digicam

Canon India, which recently slipped to third position in the digital camera category, announced its aggressive strategy for the year 2010 to target Rs 450 crore revenue in camera division.

The company plans to invest Rs 55 crore in the marketing of the camera business. Canon is also announcing new campaigns such as 'Canon on Wheels' and 'My IXUS, My Style' to tap a wider audience and reposition the category this year.

"Camera industry is growing at the rate of 35 percent per annum in India and Canon wants to replicate its success stories of the world in India too. Canon is rolling out aggressive marketing plans to touch Rs 450 crore revenue in camera division out of a total of Rs 1,100 crore in 2010," said Kensaku Konishi, president and chief executive officer, Canon India.

"To continue the momentum further, we will provide our consumers expanded portfolio of stylish and next generation digital imaging products. We are happy to launch the campaign 'Capture Mumbai' in the city of Mumbai to take our market share from 20 percent currently to 30 percent by June 2010," added Konishi.

The 'Capture Mumbai' campaign begins in January 2010 with mall roadshows at four prime venues within the city of Mumbai, where the company will showcase a wide range of cameras on display for the consumers to have a "hands on" experience. This will continue till June 2010. In Mumbai, Canon will roll out 100 roadshows during the next six months.

Across eight cities, Canon plans to reach out 50 lakh customers through a mass contact programme. To further enhance its presence in exhibitions, Canon plans to participate in 35 exhibitions across 35 cities to reach out to another 5 lakh visitors.

'Canon on Wheels' - Canon Image Mobile Express is a concept to create a wider touch and feel for Canon products and to connect with not just its customers in the metro, but also in Tier II and Tier III cities, said the company. Canon on Wheels will be a caravan of four vans that moves in a city to set up 'Canon Image Fest' mini expo that provides touch and feel experience. This will travel to cover 50 cities across India and target over 5 lakh customers.

Canon India also announced the launch of its soon-to-be launched television commercial, "My Ixus My Style". The new commercial, focused on youngsters, will be aired from 10 February 2010. The company will also be creating IXUS corners with a total of 500 outlets, out of which 150 will be available in Mumbai from today.

With the organised retail boom in India, Canon has introduced the concept of Canon League retail stores and partners and will target 150 Canon league points by providing cameras for demo to create experience points in retail stores. The Canon League programme for channel partners is to connect, develop and build a strong distribution channel.

Additionally, Canon is creating photo culture by building an online photo community of Canon camera users in India. In 2010 Canon is looking at expanding its members to 200,000 from the current 80,000.

Canon Edge, a one-stop informative website for all Canon buyers, can register and get information, discuss or share interesting tips on photography. Canon has created a panel with 12 famous photographers and six expert trainers to apply their experiences and knowledge about the nitty-gritty of photography.

Canon's camera and photo products business grew by 32 percent in 2009, the company claims. The company reported an overall revenue of Rs 840 crore in 2009, registering a 27 percent growth over 2008.

China-made Goods Taking International Online Retail Market Share

Last week’s online holiday sales has once again convinced people about the prosperity of ecommerce in the 21st century. Bill Gates, CEO of the software giant Microsoft expressed his recognition with the bright future of online sales by praising Ma Yun, CEO of the largest Chinese B2B company Alibaba Group, to be the richest man in the world in 21st century. And Microsoft is moving. It has started its exploration into ecommerce by launching the Bing Cashback Search. It’s far from clear what the Bing Cashback Search will come off. But something interesting is taking place.

India’s businessmen are flocking onto eBay to sell beads for belly dance, African sellers are offering their unique ivory jewelry online, and Chinese merchants are selling low-priced electronic products to the world on the Internet.

All these are transforming the world we are familiar with, particularly Chinese low-priced electronics. In the past, Chinese electronic manufacturers made a slim profit by providing products through OEM to international giants like Walmart. And now they are making profits by selling directly to worldwide consumers at much lower distribution cost while consumers get what they want at lower price. This win-win online trade pattern is changing the conventional way of trading and foreign-trade-oriented online market places and trading platform have sprung up like mushrooms. For example, the emerging ChinaBuye.com. This Internet-based market place features electronic gadgets at the lowest price in the world with free worldwide shipping. “Our sales have more than doubled during this Christmas,” said Rose Green, Sales Director of ChinaBuye.com, “and we notice that international buyer prefer gifts costing less than $10, which is our speciality. Obviously, we’re on the right way.”

Made-in-China is now not only a word. It has become a brand. Many European and American consumers are logging onto International market places for bargains since they are no longer satisfied with the limited options provided by traditional retailers like Walmart and Dollar Shop.

Bisleri eyes markets with Indian diaspora

Bisleri International Pvt. Ltd, which claims to be the market leader in India’s packaged water industry, is in talks with beverage makers and bottlers in countries such as Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Oman and the United Arab Emirates to franchise its brand name “Bisleri”.

“We are in talks with several players and would finalize some of them very shortly,” said Anjana Ghosh, director, Bisleri, which recently began exporting packaged water to Singapore. She said she was eyeing markets with large Indian diaspora to cash in on the 45-year-old brand’s recall value. “Water is a bulky product...so the best thing is to make it locally. But the most important thing is to find the right partner.”

As per industry research body Beverage Marketing Corp.’s 2008 estimates, Asia consumes 26.2% of total packaged and mineral water produced, while West Asia consumes 3.5%.

Retail consultants said going international was the ideal growth model for a company that expects a turnover of Rs600 crore for 2009-10 fiscal, “Getting the right international partners and franchising is a good way as it does not even require capital investment,” said Purnendu Kumar, associate vice-president of retail consultancy Technopak Advisors Pvt. Ltd.

Bisleri is also looking aggressively at domestic growth After launching mineral water brand Vedica recently, it is test marketing flavoured water in Mumbai. “It should be in the market this summer,” Ghosh said.

DSF 2010 Retail registration opens for retailers across Dubai

Retail outlets can start registering to be part of the upcoming 15th edition of Dubai Shopping Festival as the door was opened for registration on January 10.

DSF 2010 is expected to be a landmark edition with the participation of over 6000 retail outlets, over 150 international and regional events, and raffles giving away prizes worth millions of dirhams over 32 days of festivities.

As part of its commitment in supporting Dubai’s vibrant retail sector, DSF 2010 has included new categories to enable the scope of participation.

Registration is open until February 28, 2010. Registration forms are now available at the main branch of the Department of Economic Development at the DED offices at The Dubai Mall and Twaar Centre between 7.30am to 2.30 pm (Sunday to Thursday).

Retail outlets can be part of DSF 2010 through the following categories: DSF Sales, DSF Part Sale, DSF Discount, DSF Offers, DSF Raffle Promotion, Selling Kiosk/Stand, Promoting Kiosk/Stand, Media House, Online Promotion, and Paper/Leaflet Distribution categories. 

RFID's Future Looks Bright for Indian Jewelers

When radio frequency identification first began penetrating the retail industry, I thought the jewelry sector would be the first to adopt this technology, as jewelers were well positioned to justify the tag cost, and to use RFID to provide valuable reports and increase efficiency.

But RFID did not make a significant mark in this segment—at least, not in India. The primary reason may be that the industry is largely owned by traditional business groups averse to any changes in the processes they have been following for many years.

This aversion has resulted in the repulsion of any new technologies. The second major reason could be that the technology itself was not considered mature or reliable enough to handle expensive items like jewelry, for even a little flaw in the system could be catastrophically expensive to a jewelry firm.

Despite these hurdles, the acceptance scenario for India's jewelry companies has also evolved principally because people have seen or heard about successful deployments of RFID within that industry, and about the associated positive return on investment (ROI).

I very much understand and accept the fact that the advent of any new technology in India lags behind the West by two to three years. Keeping this timeframe in mind, I believe it's high time for the Indian market to adopt RFID extensively. The new generation, even of traditional business groups, is becoming more tech-savvy and enterprising in its approach.

This progressive group of businesspeople now wants to be informed, and to know how well they are competing with peers in other parts of the globe.

To support the wishes and expectations of jewelry merchants, the technology has also evolved to a much higher level. Now we can expect anti-collision capabilities in high-frequency (HF) RFID, thus enabling interrogators to read multiple RFID tags simultaneously.

Some RFID hardware vendors have enhanced the hardware to a level at which tags can be read even when stacked one on top of another. Currently, reading tags close to a metallic environment is not a challenge. We can now expect a longer read range, allowing HF RFID to be used in security gates.

Thanks to these advancements, systems integrators in India are feeling more confident and encouraged to deploy successful solution in the jewelry industry.

In general, RFID implementation in the jewelry domain is restricted to the two most serious applications: stock taking and security. At little extra cost, however, the technology can enable additional solutions that can provide visibility to decision makers in a great way.

For instance, RFID can be useful in tracking the performance of salespeople, in terms of time and the actual business he or she gets. Real-time inventory management and the movement of stock can provide some crucial data that can very useful for production management, shelf management and stock management.

With a few changes in processes, we can also keep track of an item's movement from one group of objects to another—and, in the event of any unauthorized item clustering, we can raise desirable alerts.
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Survey:Shoppers Increasingly Go High-Tech For Shopping Needs

Consumers' growing access to technology is leading retailers to become more creative in how they personalize promotions and sales as the industry continues to adopt to new technologies, according to findings by International Business Machines Corp (IBM).

Shoppers are increasingly using technologies to interact both with retailers and with other consumers, a trend even more pronounced in emerging markets. Consumers in India, China and Brazil are almost twice as willing to use multiple technologies for shopping, said IBM, as new technologies often grow faster in emerging countries.

The shift in high-tech shopping comes after research firm IDC said last month the number of mobile Internet users is expected to more than double over the next four years to more than one billion.

An IBM study, which surveyed more than 32,000 consumers globally, found 79% want to use Web sites to access and print coupons. Nearly as many want to use their mobile devices to find where stores are located, and 66% want to see what goods are in stock before going to a store.

But giving consumers real-time information about inventory can be challenging, especially when inventory is tight, according to Jill Puleri, an IBM retail executive. Puleri said IBM is looking to provide software that can instantly show consumers what is available in stores.

But she warned that if that information wasn't accurate, it could hurt a retailer's relationship with the consumer. The survey found 43% said that if an item wasn't available at a store, they would go elsewhere to find it.

The survey's results come after shopping by mobile phone jumped during the 2009 holiday season. For example, e-commerce giant eBay Inc. (EBAY) said last month the number of items bought on its site through mobile devices tripled from a year ago. Some notable purchases included a 23-foot deck boat and a Boston grand piano.

"Retailers cannot afford to sit still as this digital revolution happens," said Puleri. "They must engage plugged-in consumers in new and different ways, on their terms, and with more bi-directional feedback and dialogue."

That need can be met through various smartphone applications, like the coupon application called Yowza, which is available for Apple Inc.'s (AAPL) iPhone. Yowza allows consumers to pull up coupons on their phone to be scanned in stores.

Additionally, Puleri said the notion of "co-creating" was a surprising finding of the survey, as consumers reported they were very willing to collaborate with retailers. Puleri said retailers are also looking to reach out through social networking sites--like Facebook and Twitter--but added those interactions were most successful when consumers felt they were given exclusive offers.
Saturday, January 9, 2010

Kodak plans to open 100 stores by 2012

Imaging and printing solutions provider, Kodak India plans to open 100 Kodak Express stores in the country over the next two years, with an estimated investment of Rs 15 crore, a company official said.

"We plan to open 100 Kodak Express stores by 2012 with an investment of Rs 15 lakh per store. Our main focus will be major metros and tier II cities," Kodak India's Vice-President (Marketing) P N Raghuvir said here.

Presently, Kodak has 12 such stores in the country.

Kodak is the market leader in retail printing and recently became the second largest player in digital cameras category with 21 per cent market share in India, he said.

He pegged the total digital camera market in India at 1.5 million units.

Kodak, whose C140 was the highest selling model in 2009, saw a 35 per cent year-on-year growth last year. It hopes to continue the growth momentum this year as well, Raghuvir said.

Kodak enjoys a 29 per cent market share in the digicam segment, priced below Rs 10,000, which has been the major driver for its growth in the country, Raghuvir said.

The company also launched its solar chargers and a pocket size Digital Video Camcorder Zi8, which has a built-in USB arm that can be connected to personal computers directly without any cables, he said.

'NEXT' to build a Pan -India Network by leveraging FIHL expertise

NEXT Retail India Ltd. is India's largest Electronics Retail Chain. Established in 2003, NEXT is amongst the giants in organized retailing of Consumer Electronics, Home Appliances, IT, Imaging, Accessories and Small Home appliances. With an overpowering presence in Tier 1 ,2 & 3 cities, NEXT is all geared up to expand its reach in Tier 4 cities now with the engagement of Franchise India. Franchise India is Asia's largest integrated Franchise and Retail Solutions Company that specializes in providing innovative solutions to its global clientele.

NEXT was incorporated to tap the immense potential of the retail industry. It has opened up a world of choices for shopping enthusiasts and homemakers, across all demographic and psychographic segments. NEXT is a multi-product showroom, stocking an entire range of electronic items right from Air-conditioners, LCD/Plasma TVs, Home Theater systems, Washing Machines, Refrigerators, Microwaves to small home appliances. NEXT retails some of the most popular brands such as LG, Samsung, Sony, Electrolux, Kelvinator, Whirlpool, Onida, Philips, Kenstar, Videocon, Sansui, including its own brand! NEXT also has a collection of Microsoft X-Box, Computers & Laptops of Acer, HCL, Lenova, HP.

Synovate India Retail Brands Survey 2007 rated NEXT as "All India No. 1 in Consumer Satisfaction" in the Consumer Durables category, which was established in the well-read Mint. The company is independently managed by the board of Directors currently operating over 500 showrooms across 16 states with a presence in 187 cities & towns spanning metros and large towns under the brand name of "NEXT".

Combining the best in quality, service, convenience and price, NEXT is also foraying into Apparel and lifestyle segments shortly.

Commenting upon the association, Mr Vijay Bhandari, Business Head, Key Accounts, Franchise India said, "We are delighted to be associated with India's Largest Electronic Retail Chain enabling Indian consumers to achieve their aspirations in a modern and enjoyable shopping atmosphere. With aggressive growth plans, NEXT enjoys a market share of 60% currently and is aiming for 75% by 2012-13 of organize electronic retails. Franchise India will strategize a robust marketing & franchise recruitment plan.

Franchise India successfully close many franchise & real estate transaction for next as per expansion plans across India with in a short span 3 months, we have the mandate of preparing an elaborate strategy for the successful implementation of its franchise program to stable its No.1 position as a promising brand. For investors looking for long term investments and stable returns NEXT is the best power brand opportunity!"
Friday, January 8, 2010

Jaipan to open 200 retail stores starting next month

Mumbai-based home appliances manufacturer Jaipan Industries said it will foray into retail industry by opening 200 stores pan-India, to sell lighting accessories starting next month.

"We plan to enter into retail lighting industry by opening 200 stores starting next month, which would run through franchise operations. The company also plans to raise more capital (by way of rights issue) in the period ahead to fund our new ventures," Jaipan Industries Managing Director J N Agarwal told PTI.

Jaipan plans to invest Rs 10-crore in the first phase of retail expansion but will increase the investment size in later stages, Agarwal said, adding that shops will be opened across major cities.

Besides, the company is also mulling rights issue sometime over the next two years, to mop up funds that will be used to fuel its expansion plans, Agarwal said.

Kishore Biyani all set to launch telecom services

Mr Kishore Biyani is getting ready to unleash his mobile services.

The business model is likely to be based on the MVNO platform( Mobile Virtual Network Operator) platform whereby a mobile operator does not own its own spectrum and usually does not have its own network infrastructure.

Instead, MVNOs have business arrangements with traditional mobile operators to buy minutes of use (MOU) for sale to their own customers. ``We should be ready with the telecom services within the next six to eight weeks,'' stated Mr Kishore Biyani, Chairman of the Future Group.

It was at the IRF (India Retail Forum) last year that Mr Biyani had disclosed his plans to enter the telecom space with plans of making Rs 1000 crore on the project. Currently, the telecom project is being handled by Mr Biyani himself and the services are now on the threshold of being launched soon through his retail outlets.

“There are many thoughts on generating revenues, but it our telecom project which will be unleashed within a matter of weeks,'' added Mr. Biyani.

Virgin Mobile model

Currently it is the Virgin Mobile brand which has entered India through a franchise arrangement with Tata Teleservices. The Future Group is expected to be based on a business model similar to that of Virgin Mobile.

According to sources, there will be SIM cards based on the GSM platform from the Tata DoCo o brand which will provide the back-end for the Future Group's foray into telecom.

However, there are no plans to tap into the synergies which might exist in the hardware market considering the group already has a joint venture under Future Axiom Telecom which is into sourcing and wholesale distribution of mobile handsets.

Hospitality plans

The Future Group is also keen to enter the hospitality industry with its own chain of hotels. “It is just a thought at the moment and nothing has been formed up as yet,'' added Mr Biyani.

Besides, the Future Group is also planning to upgrade its loyalty and direct marketing programmes. There would be new loyalty card which can be used across the group companies.

Future Group Shelves plan to set up stores for electrical products

Kishore Biyani’s Future Group has shelved its plan to set up standalone stores for retailing electrical and lighting products to conserve cash, according to a company executive.

Home Solutions Retail India Ltd (HSRIL), a unit of Future Group, was planning to enter the Rs 2,000-crore lighting products market with its own stores, called ‘Bijli Ghar’. These were proposed to be set up initially as shop-in-shop in Big Bazaar stores and as standalone stores later. The group was targeting revenues of Rs 100 crore in the first year of operations.

“Instead of running separate stores for lighting products, we thought of launching products in our existing stores,” the executive said.

The company has instead launched compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) and electrical accessories under the ‘LSL’ brand, the executive added.

HSRIL had set up two joint ventures with lighting products manufacturer Asian Electronics — Asian Retail Lighting and Home Lighting India Ltd — to manufacture lighting products for the retail sector and for home lighting.

On Wednesday, Asian Electronics said it was merging Home Lighting with Asian Retail Lighting and disposing its entire investments in Home Lighting.

“Both the companies were operating from the same location and doing similar work. We thought of merging the companies to bring operational synergies and cost efficiencies,” R D Goradia, senior vice-president, Asian Electronics, told Business Standard.

Even Future Group has been streamlining its operations. Late last year, the group had said it was consolidating its non-retail investments to retain Pantaloon as a profitable retail company. On January 1, Pantaloon, the flagship company of Future Group, announced that it had transferred the value retail business of the company to Future Value Retail.
Thursday, January 7, 2010

Wal-Mart to bring private label suppliers to India

Several global companies from whom Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the world's biggest retailer, sources consumer goods for its private labels business are seeking an entry into India to profit from the growing importance of organized retailing in one of the world's fastest growing economies.


We have a lot of international private label suppliers who are interested in setting up shop in India to create private labels, not just for Bharti Retail and Bharti-Walmart stores, but for the entire industry. We are working on those suppliers to come to India, a spokesperson for Bharti-Walmart Pvt. Ltd told Mint in an email interview.

The firm has already launched eight of Wal-Mart's private labels in India, including the Great Value brand. Bharti-Walmart is a 50:50 joint venture between the US retailing powerhouse and Bharti Enterprises Ltd.

The spokesperson declined to name the companies interested in coming to India or the kind of opportunities they were exploring.Bharti-Walmart has already introduced eight of Wal-Mart's private labels in India, which it sells at the company's sole wholesale retail outlet in Amritsar and at about six dozen Easy Day stores owned by Bharti Retail Ltd, which directly cater to retail customers.

The private labels on offer in India include the popular Great Value brand, which offers tea, local snacks, ketchup, dish-washing bars, and toilet and glass cleaners.Private labels are brands owned by large retailers that can be sold at lower prices without harming profit margins because they do not entail large marketing and advertising costs. Most large retailers in India such as Pantaloon Retail (India) Ltd, Aditya Birla Retail Ltd, Spencer's Retail Ltd and Reliance Retail Ltd are pushing private labels to capture a larger share of consumer spending in their stores.

Smart sourcing is one of the key factors in retailing success-and Wal-Mart is widely regarded to have one of the best-oiled supply chains in the world, with 61,000 suppliers in 50 countries, including India.The suppliers to the world's largest retailer by sales aren't small either. For instance, its cereal and snacks private label supplier Ralcorp Holding Inc. has an annual revenue of around $3.9 billion (around Rs17,980 crore). New York Stock Exchange-listed Cott Corp., which supplies private label beverages to Wal-Mart and other retailers, including Britain's Tesco Plc. and Germany's Metro AG, has annual revenue of $1.7 billion.

Other global suppliers to Wal-Mart include billion-dollar companies such as baby food maker PBM Products Llc, and pickles and soup supplier TreeHouse Foods Inc."As a global sourcing organization, we are always looking for emerging opportunities to get the best products for our customers, on an ongoing basis," the spokesperson said.

India allows fully owned foreign subsidiaries in most of the manufacturing businesses unless they operate in sectors reserved for small-scale industries, such as pickles, mustard oil, wax candles and safety matches, among others."It's natural for these companies to come here and it's natural for Wal-Mart to bring people it is already familiar with and who understand its needs," said Jayant Kochar, managing director of New Delhi-based retail consultancy firm Go Fish Retail Solutions.

Kochar said the arrival of such vendors would be good for the Indian economy as they would source most of their raw materials from within the country and generate employment."Indian market is huge and there is option for everyone. If good companies with proven expertise come in, they raise the bar and they improve standards," he added.

Bharti-Walmart currently sources its private labels from 120 Indian companies.But Neeraj Poddar of Ludhiana-based Asian Lakto Industries Ltd that supplies packaged juices to several local modern retailers, including Bharti-Walmart, is not worried about competition from global bigwigs. He said the learning from foreign suppliers would be useful to the Indian industry.Wal-Mart has been sourcing products from suppliers in India for at least 20 years for its global operations.

Major categories sourced from Indian suppliers include home textiles (including towels, shower curtains, bath mats, accessories, bedding sheets, kitchen linens), apparel (including wovens, knitwear and leather footwear), fine jewellery, tableware and home decor products."We are also partnering SMEs (small and medium enterprises) in India to grow their businesses by upgrading their processes, developing new products and leveraging Wal-Mart's global sourcing network," the spokesperson said.

Future Group: Value Retail Unit May Consider IPO

India's Future Group may look at options including an initial public offering if its discount store business needs to raise funds, the chief executive of its retail operations said Wednesday.

"An IPO is a possibility," Rakesh Biyani told Dow Jones Newswires. "But there are no such plans now."

Future Group operates Pantaloon Retail (India) Ltd., the country's largest listed retailer by market capitalization and revenue.

Pantaloon Retail separated its discount store business, which includes the Big Bazaar hypermarket and the Food Bazaar supermarket businesses, into Future Value Retail Ltd. with effect Jan. 1. The company had in October said the move will enable capital infusion into the business.

Pantaloon Retail has raised about 7.50 billion rupees ($163 million) so far in the current financial year, Mr. Biyani said. He didn't provide details on the fundraising.

It had raised 5.00 billion rupees via a share sale to institutional investors, while a banker had told Dow Jones Newswires in July that Pantaloon Retail was looking to sell 2.50 billion rupees of bonds.

Mr. Biyani said while sales for the October-December quarter were on the "positive side," they took a hit as stores had to be shut for almost nine days in the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh due to political unrest.

The company has a significant presence in Andhra Pradesh, which has witnessed protests and demonstrations over plans to divide the state into two.

"There has been a significant impact there," Mr. Biyani said, without elaborating on loss in sales.

Pantaloon Retail had posted an 18% rise in net sales from a year earlier to 17.77 billion rupees in the three months ended Sept. 30.

The company projects its net sales for the current financial year ending June 30 to rise more than 30% from the year-earlier period's 76.69 billion rupees because of a strong rebound in India's retail sales.

"Sentiment (overall) is extremely positive," Mr. Biyani said.
Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Titan to triple topline in five years

India’s biggest watch and jewellery retailer, Titan Industries, is looking to triple its topline from Rs 4,600 crore this fiscal to Rs 14,000 crore over the next five years. Bangalore-based watch and jewellery arm of the Tata Group, which did not alter its expansion plans during recession, plans to strengthen its presence in the wedding jewellery market and divert focus to smaller international watch markets such as Vietnam, Oman and Qatar.

“We did not project ambitious sales growth this fiscal due to rise in gold prices which impacted our volumes. But the next five years presents a big opportunity as we project our revenues to grow from Rs 4,600 crore to Rs 14,000 crore,” said Titan Industries MD Bhaskar Bhat.

These views were expressed before the company went into its silent period. Titan Industries has built up a portfolio of strong lifestyle brands, including the top-end jewellery brand Tanishq, fashion accessories brand Fastrack and the watch brand Xylys.

Titan, which has been selling Tommy Hilfiger and Hugo Boss range of watches in India, drew up its five-year plan in April 2009. It launched three formats including lifestyle accessories chain Fastrack, high-end diamond jewellery boutique Zoya and pure-play watch retail format Helios, which is being ramped up to 50 outlets by FY13.

Over the next five years, the topline growth will still be led by Tanishq, with the division expected to contribute Rs 10,000 crore. Diverting focus from the US market—where it closed two Tanishq stores while navigating recessionary pressures—Tanishq will adopt a highly design-led, diamond-robust and large store intensive strategy.

“The opportunity is still very large in India as the jewellery market is expected to grow from Rs 80,000 crore to around Rs 1,25, 000 crore by 2014-15. We don’t want to renew attention on international markets yet, “ Mr Bhat added.

Tanishq, which has been offering relatively low-ticket value products for convenient every-day wear, is slowly edging into the wedding jewellery market. An additional 50-store rollout plan, driven by a number of large-format (15, 000 sq ft) stores, will see it compete in a market that is heavily skewed towards plain gold designs that are often made-to-order for brides.

The watchmaker is, however, switching gears in its international strategy for watches. It has zeroed in on newer smaller markets such as Vietnam, Oman and Qatar as opposed to existing market Dubai, which underperformed this year. The company intends to aggressively invest in advertising while growing its distribution presence beyond traditional watch stores within these markets. The Middle East, South East Asian and African countries together account for 10 per cent of the watch division’s turnover.

Even in India, Titan harvested growth from selective markets where the sales grew. Together with significant overhead cost cutting, Titan will see a reasonably good bottomline this fiscal, Mr Bhat said. In fact, this improved profitability is also a function of its revamped mass-market strategy that saw Sonata watches undertake a major stock correction in April. This was done to balancing out inefficiencies in the brand’s distribution system.

“Once the investment by the trade was brought down, with sales remaining the same, profitability improved. After that, we focused on consolidating the business,” Mr Bhat added.

Future group mulls listing value retail entity

Kishore Biyani-led Future Group, which recently hived off its value segments —Big Bazaar and Food Bazaar— into a separate entity called Future Value retail, is now looking to list this company independently. Future Group director & CEO-retail Rakesh Biyani said this was one of the options the company would seriously consider for funding its growth.

"With the subsidiarisation of the value retail business, one option is to list it independently. If there is a listing, it should happen this year," Mr Biyani told ET.

Earlier this week, Kishore Biyani-led Pantaloon Retail (India) in a filing on the BSE had said that it had transfered its value retail business — both Big Bazaar and Food Bazaar — to its wholly-owned subsidiary Future Value Retail (FVRL).

The transfer of the two chains to the value subsidiary came into effect on January 1, along with all its assets, rights and obligations and employees.

Mr Biyani was in town on Tuesday for the launch of Wilson’s new range of tennis rackets, in tie-up with Winner Sports, a subsidiary of Pantaloon Retail India which has exclusive rights to distribute the product in India.

On the source of funds, Mr Biyani said that the group has a total requirement of Rs 1,800 crore, of which Rs 750 crore has been raised so far. "Listing the value retail business is one of the options we are looking at to fund our growth."

On the impact of food price inflation and whether there will be a price hike of any of its private label products, Mr Biyani said they were trying to sustain prices as low as possible. "There are good indications that inflation might come down so we will hold onto prices even at the expense of margin. We will take a call in the next 4-6 weeks on prices."
Monday, January 4, 2010

Pantaloon transfers value retail biz to Future Value Retail



Kishore Biyani-led Pantaloon Retail (India) today said it will transfer its value retail business to its group company, Future Value Retail.

The company's committee of directors at a meeting held on December 31 approved transfer of value retail business of the company to Future Value Retail--a wholly-owned subsidiary, Pantaloon Retail (India) said in a filing to the Bombay Stock Exchange.

Pantaloon's value retail business would be transferred with "all its assets, rights, liabilities or obligations of all nature and kind, along with its employees related to value retail business on an on-going concern basis," it added.

The value retail business would commence with effect from today in Future Value Retail Ltd, it said.

Global tie-ups, private labels to be buzzwords in retail this year



Tie-ups with international retailers and brands, emphasis on profitable growth and increased focus on private labels are set to be key trends in the Indian retail sector in 2010, say retailers and consultants Business Standard spoke to.

Though foreign direct investment in single-brand retailing and cash-and-carry ventures are allowed along with franchising and licensing pacts as of now, 2009 saw most of the foreign retailers focusing on manage the business in their home countries, where they were seeing declining sales.

“In 2010, a lot of international retailers and brands are most likely to look at India as global markets have stabilised and the Indian economy has proved to be better than most other countries. These factors give a lot of confidence for them to invest in India,” said Arvind Singhal, chairman of Technopak Advisors, a business consultancy.

Wal-Mart has set up its first unit in the country and Tesco, the UK’s largest retailer, is providing back-end support to Tata’s hypermarket Star Bazaar, Carrefour is said to be talking Kishore Biyani’s Future Group for a possible tie-up.

Industry sources said a number of international brands are also holding talks with Future Group, Reliance Retail and Spencer’s Retail for tie-ups.

Devangshu Dutta, chief executive of business consultancy Third Eyesight, believes franchising and licensing agreements could be a major avenue used by overseas brands to enter the country.

“Our research shows that 45 per cent of fashion and lifestyle brands, which have entered India in the recent past, have used this route because it gives a quick entry and allows tie-ups with partners who have good real estate capabilities,” Dutta says.

A profitable growth Though retailers such as Reliance Retail, Aditya Birla Retail and Spencer’s Retail closed hundreds of stores or shifted stores to economical locations in 2008 and 2009 and took various steps to cut costs, they are likely to continue to focus on profits and boosting margins in 2010.

Shoppers Stop’s top management took 15 per cent salary cuts, while 300 floor-level staff were not replaced. The company shrank its office space 20 per cent and corporate office expenses by 40 per cent to cut losses.

Delhi-based Vishal Retail, which has been battling cash woes and mounting debt, relocated 25 stores in the financial year 2009 and 10 stores since April 2009. It is now planning to close 20 more and go only through the franchisee route.

“In 2010, our strategy is to increase margins, reduce costs and boost revenues. In 2009, we mostly focused on controlling costs,” says Thomas Varghese, chief executive officer of Aditya Birla Retail, part of the Aditya Birla group. “We will watch the situation and open stores,” Thomas adds.

“Retailers will not book properties at ridiculous rentals and look at private labels to boost margins. Growth with profitability is the main mantra in 2010,” says Singhal.

Private labels to rise Most retailers like Future Group, Spencer’s Retail and Aditya Birla Retail, among others, are stepping up their private label plans to boost margins. The reason: Private labels in food and groceries carry margins of 25-35, while private labels in apparel and accessories offer more than 40 per cent margins.

Future Brands, which manages the private labels of Future Group, is expecting a turnover of Rs 750 crore in 2010 (the group’s flagship Pantaloon’s financial year ends on June 30), 14 per cent growth.

Private labels contribute 30 per cent of its sales in FMCG and 25 per cent in personal care products. The group is expanding its private label portfolio further. It is planning to launch its own brands in lingerie and a toothpaste brand ‘Sach’, according to Future Group CEO Kishore Biyani.

Aditya Birla Retail, which has more than 400 products in its private labels, plans to take its share of private labels in overall revenues from 19 per cent to 25 per cent next year.

RPG’s Spencer’s Retail is also planning to double the contribution of private labels and fashion to its overall revenues in the next couple of years.

Spencer’s plans to launch several new private labels across categories. Under its brand ‘Smart Choice’, the company will launch floor cleaners, savories and chips, wines, air-freshners and cakes in the next two months. Under its ‘Livin Smart’ brand, the company has launched categories like quilts, handloom towels, dining accessories and, under its ‘Gerat’ brand, Spencer’s recently launched a mixer grinder and plans to launch a DVD player soon.

Reliance Retail to open 45 books & music stores by Dec 2014




Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Retail Ltd plans to open a total of 45 stores of its books and music retailing business -- Reliance TimeOut -- across India over the next three to five years.

The multi-format retailer, which operates seven stores of TimeOut, said it wants to tap India's Rs 3,500-crore book retailing industry, of which only 40 per cent is organised.

"In the next 3-5 years (or December 2014), we will have a total of 45 TimeOut outlets across four states - mainly in western and southern India. Our strategy is to first saturate a town, then a state followed by the entire region," Reliance Retail, Business Head, Reliance TimeOut, Deepinder Kapany told PTI.

He said the next couple of months will see five stores being opened in Mumbai.

"The next few stores in (calender year) 2010 will come up in Delhi, Ahmedabad, Mumbai and Bangalore. We want to saturate Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka and the National Capital Region (NCR)," Kapany said.

This is part of an overall aggressive expansion strategy by the format, which will enter Pune, Nagpur, Hyderabad, Mysore, Mangalore, Ahmedabad, Baroda and Jamnagar.

Reliance Retail will expand through the cost-effective model of revenue-sharing format with property owners.
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