Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Sunday, Jun 20, 2004
Marketing - Strategy
Titan looks beyond watches; sunglasses, leather products in pipeline
Sindhu J. Bhattcharya
New Delhi , June 19
TITAN Industries has embarked on a multi-pronged approach to sustain its current growth levels, by entering several new product areas while also increasing focus on its global operations.
On the one hand, the company has decided to extend its product portfolio from just watches and jewellery to other desirable brands within personal accessories, including designer labels in watches, sunglasses and some leather products. On the other, it plans to make India a global sourcing base for watch and jewellery.
The Chief Operating Officer, Mr Bijou Kurien, told Business Line, "Our vision is creation of desirable brands within personal accessories and extending this internationally. Besides, we want to build scale in watches and jewellery and use India as a global manufacturing base. So, while we have already got the licence for manufacturing and marketing Tommy Hilfiger brand of designer watches in India, Titan has decided to foray into sunglasses. We also see a great opportunity in leather products."
Mr Kurien said that while the Tommy Hilfiger designer range was currently being imported, the licence terms allowed Titan to manufacture them in India and the production would happen depending on sales volumes but in the case of sunglasses, the company would "partly manufacture" them in India.
Asked about the competition Ray Ban may offer to Titan sunglasses, he said the product the company offered would be a mix of functionality and fashion but declined to elaborate further.
Meanwhile, Titan has also announced an exclusive sub-licensing arrangement with GVM International for the marketing and distribution of Tommy Hilfiger watches in India.
On whether Tommy Hilfiger association may meet the same fate as the partnering with Timex some years ago, Mr Kurien said the joint venture with Timex ran into trouble because "some product segments were overlapping with similar price points. But in the case of Tommy Hilfiger, we have steered clear of any overlap. In fact, we may not look at any more designer watch brand licensing arrangements in future to avoid any overlap in product portfolio."
Titan will be paying some royalty for the Tommy Hilfiger brand name but Mr Kurien did not divulge the exact nature of the licensing agreement.
On plans to take Titan to more countries, he said the Rs 80-crore export turnover last year should be significantly increased this year due to the thrust on overseas markets, especially for Titan and Tanishq.
The company has a manufacturing plant in Hosur (Tamil Nadu), two assembling facilities in Udhagamandalam and Dehradun, respectively and a joint venture with the Goa Government for printed circuit boards which are used in manufacturing watches.
The company, which is a joint venture between the Tatas and the Tamil Nadu Industrial Development Corporation, is eyeing over Rs 1,000-crore sales turnover this fiscal.
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