Retail majors in rightsizing mode

IN A bid to maximise sales per square feet, Indias frontline retailers are increasingly looking at ways to restructure their stores. Leading players like Future Group, Spencers Retail, Shoppers Stop and Vishal Retail plan to rightsize their stores and replace slow-moving categories with speciality formats under the shop-in-shop model.

Retailers feel such an approach will also help them improve gross margin returns per sq ft in the present environment when same store sales growth is quite weak. A shop-inshop approach helps increase revenue per sq ft. It enables best utilisation of space and is a good way to do away with excess space and reduce space for categories which are not doing well, Future Group CEORetail Rakesh Biyani told ET.

Future Group plans to offer a wider choice in large-format stores like Big Bazaar by setting up speciality zones under the shop-in-shop model. This approach provides consumers with a wider choice. We have a similar model for the Pantaloons outlets in the East and may replicate it elsewhere, Mr Biyani said. Shoppers Stop recently tied up with Cafe Coffee Day to manage cafes within its stores. It is an ongoing process to maximise returns, said managing director BS Nagesh. The most common categories where retailers are looking for shop-inshop outlets include food and beverage, saris and areas which have more customerconnect requirement like cosmetics, personal care products, fine jewellery and salons, says Retailers Association of India CEO Kumar Rajagopalan.

Spencers Retail, which is presently rightsizing by cutting down on 20% of its retail space, also plans to focus on shopinshops. In a slowdown, shop-in-shops are the best way to leverage domain knowledge of speciality players and maximise returns. Such outlets will be set up through our groups speciality formats like Books & Beyond, Mera World, Music World as well as in collaboration with other players, Spencers Retail marketing head Samar S Sheikhawat.

Vishal Retail group president Ambeek Khemka said the retailer too is restructuring its 171 stores nationally. We have already completed the exercise for 35-odd stores and the results are encouraging. In fact, small and regional brands are lapping up the opportunity to follow the shop-in-shops model, he said.

Economic Times: Writankar Mukherjee & Sreeradha D Basu, KOLKATA

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LG catching up fast in GSM market

SOUTH Korean mobile phone manufacturer, LG Mobile’s assessment is that India can overtake China and become its largest market in terms of size and demand for handsets in the near future. In the background of a sharp economic slowdown in the US and Europe, the company has identified India as a strategic market for investment for its GSM and IT verticals, its managing director Moon B Shin said during an interaction with ET.
How important is India for LG, especially with demand in developed countries such as the US slowing down? What are your plans for India in the current fiscal?

India is an important market for us due to the opportunities it presents. We have plans to launch more than 32 new models here, of which six will be touch phones, while many other models will be 3G-enabled and some of these will also be entry level phones. At present, we have about three touch phones and six 3G-enabled handsets already in the market and we plan to have about 10 models each in both these segments by the year-end. We are betting big on the touch screen segment and we are targeting sales of up to six lakh units  and a 10% market share in this space alone within the next six months.

What will be your investments in India this fiscal?

We will double our investment this year and the company as a whole will spend about Rs 400 crore on advertising this year. Additionally, we will invest Rs 200 crore in R&D to study market dynamics and consumer behaviour here. We are looking at increasing our headcount in our sales vertical to enhance our presence.

How many of the products you sell here are made here? How have your sales been so far?

Currently, we manufacture mobile phones at two units located in Pune and Greater Noida and these plants have a production capacity of three million units per year. About 70% of the production is exported while the rest is for domestic consumption. We sold about 2.4 million GSM handsets in India last year and we expect a 50% increase in sales this year.

Our institutional sales account for just 10% our total mobile sales.
Currently the Indian mobile handset market is dominated by some of your competitors.

How are you looking at improving your brand visibility here?

LG is rapidly gaining market share in the GSM market, despite being a late entrant. We are already the fifth-largest player in the segment. I believe our distribution line was poor earlier, but now we are reworking our strategy here. Based on the analysis of our marketing team, we are deploying 1,000 additional shop sales executives and we will be launching about 1,000 additional shop-inshop formats in rural and tier II cities. On the organised retail front, the overall channel coverage is at 42%.

India is an important market for us due to the opportunities it presents. We have plans to launch more than 32 new models here… We are betting big on the touch screen segment
MOON B SHIN

MANAGING DIRECTOR, LG

Orange shop-in-shop heading for HMV stores.

Orange and HMV are teaming up to promote Orange products and services via store-in-store units in HMV stores.

Dedicated Orange ‘show and sell’ spaces will be situated in the entertainment retailer’s stores, with a focus on music, games and video mobile handsets and services.

The deal will extend Orange UK’s retail presence and contribute to taking the brand past the 400 high street stores landmark. It also underlines HMV’s growing interest in the mobile and digital marketplace as it continues to diversify its product mix and develop as a multi-channel brand.

A first wave of up to 15 concession stores will be rolled out from June 2009, with the HMV stores in Glasgow, Plymouth and Teesside earmarked as the first to incorporate an Orange offer. Up to 100 locations have been earmarked to take the store-in-store approach by Christmas.

“This deal marks the coming together of two of Britain’s biggest and most iconic high street brands,” Orange UK chief executive Tom Alexander. “Moving beyond mobile and into media and entertainment is a key part of our future, and joining forces with such an iconic and well-loved brand as HMV allows us to mark our clear intention in this area, while expanding our presence on the high street.

“HMV has been diversifying and extending its customer offer, which is increasingly becoming a multi-channel one with a growing emphasis on technology and new media,” says HMV chief executive Simon Fox. “I am delighted to welcome Orange into our stores – our brands reflect a shared passion for bringing entertainment content to life, and complement each other well.”

Vishal Retail’s new format

Diversified retail player Vishal Retail is planning to venture into the shopin-shop format, with a target to have around 40 such corners in its large format stores within the next three months. The company has tied up with laundry retail chain White Tiger as the first part of the strategy and is talking with another 4-5 companies for allotting space in Vishal Retail’s hypermarkets for the Vishal shop-in-shop corners.

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