From THE HINDU group of publications
Thursday, November 08, 2001


Coming home to roost

SHOPPING and more shopping. Chennai seems to have become the favourite haunt of the retail industry. With mega retailers such as LifeStyle, Shoppers Stop, Globus and Westside firmly rooted in the Chennai market and Ebony just making an entry, it is now the turn of the home products and accessories store, The Home Store (THS), to establish itself in Chennai.

With the launch of two store-in-stores at the outlets of the Chennai-based book and music store, Landmark, Arif Sheikh, President, Home Store India Ltd, considers Chennai as the Mecca for the retail industry. Chennai has the most mature retail market in India, he says.

Talking about The Home Store outlets in Chennai, Sheikh says, The Home Store is a true expression of a concept store which symbolises quality, design, variety and convenience to consumers at an affordable price. The product range includes a variety of home products such as furniture, curtains, curtain rods, bed linen, cushions, kitchen accessories, ceramics as well as home decor products such as scented candles, dry and artificial flowers, paintings and picture frames. All our products are indigenously produced at our production unit at Muradabad, remarks Sheikh.

Talking about Home Stores arrangement with Landmark, Sheikh says, We supply home products and accessories to Landmark, which does the marketing for us. He also clarifies the branding of THS products by saying, THS has a separate floor in Landmark with an exclusive entrance as well as separate billing facilities.

Sheikh said that the THS group is planning to add 150 new stores in the next five years. Our stores in Mumbai and Kolkata are opening this month, and we are also going to set up our stores in Coimbatore, Kochi and Goa by the end of this year. We also plan to come up with stores in Dubai and Sri Lanka next year. The Rs 800-crore THS group now has 19 outlets in the country and also operates 12 stores in UK, US, France and Germany. However, most of the THS stores are operated through a network of franchisees apart from the ones in Delhi, Bangalore and Hyderabad. We have a tie-up with Piramyd in Pune and Crossroads in Ahmedabad for a store-in-store.

Apart from this, THS also supplies its products to various international retail houses such as IKEA, Wal-Mart, Federated and May.

Home Store has been catering to home markets worldwide since 1952, remarks Sheikh.

Talking about the retail market in India, Sheikh said that the market was gradually evolving. Retailing in India is becoming more scientific now. Stores are no more functional godowns, but well-dressed entities with USPs of their own.

However, Sheikh was concerned about the prospect of international retail giants making a foray into the Indian market. The international retail chains will definitely give the Indian retailers a run for their money. Their expertise, hi-tech supply chain management and huge vendor base will definitely give them an edge over Indian retailers.

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