Where good times start rolling

Our interiors have investment of about Rs 5000 per sq ft, shares Bhaskar Bhat, MD, Titan Industries, having initiated a new retail concept in the watch retail space. Never seen before collection of around 3000 watches with 30-35 brands (both national and
Bhaskar Bhat

Our interiors have investment of about Rs 5000 per sq ft, shares Bhaskar Bhat, MD, Titan Industries, having initiated a new retail concept in the watch retail space. Never seen before collection of around 3000 watches with 30-35 brands (both national and international) under one roof codenamed as Helios—the multi-brand outlet. Talking to Retailer at the recent launch of Helios store in New Delhi, Bhat discloses his strategic plans to control at least 30% share for high end watch category.

 

Avinder Batra(AB): Tell us about your retail plans?

Bhaskar Bhat (BB): Retailing has become important to Titan. In specialty retailing space, we are India’s largest segment and also have the most diverse retail format. We started with our first store in 1988 and plans are to further push the retail initiatives across all the  formats---World of Titan, Helios, Fastrack (in watch space); Tanishq, Gold Plus, Zoya in the jewellery space and Titan Eye plus in the optical space . Apart from this, we have about 130 stand alone ‘Titan Care’-watch repair and services centres. The plan is to add around 200-250 stores in the next stores in 3 years mainly in Titan Eye plus.

 

This store in particular is the largest with 2 formats—exclusive Titan flagship in the ground floor and Helios (multi-brand store)on the first floor. Together with 5000 sq ft of space with 3000 designs of watches and 35 brands under one roof. It must be one of its kind in the world.

 

AB: How many stores are you planning for Helios?

BB: We are planning around 9 stores this fiscal and 50 next year and 20-30 next year. After evaluating our strategy we would accentuate the growth of this new format.

 

AB: Which cities will you target for such a format? Why?

BB: Helios is multi brands format with large fashion brands apart from mid market watch brands—Titan, Citizen, Casio several. Fashion brands—Fossil, Movado, Armani. Because of their price points and the kind of customer they attract, the format would target the cities like Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi, and Chandigarh; about 20 odd towns catering to the needs of urban customer.

 

AB: Do you find any change in customer’s perception while purchasing a watch? How are you preparing your team to match their expectation today & in future?

BB: Today’s consumers perceive watches more as a fashion accessory than as a time keeping device. In fact, watches today have become an accessory that personifies the consumer’s personality.

 

We take 3 sources of customer understanding—the first is the retail store—every day affair customers likes and dislikes--constant feedback. The second source is our sales force meeting dealers. And the last is hard consumer research—our design team meets customers ask the customer feedbacks to design better watches and thus we develop designs.

 

AB:  Which are the main areas you are concentrating for revenues? Which price segment generates the maximum revenue?

BB: The mid-premium and premium segments of the market are where we want to focus our attentions to as we see exponential growth there. Our price category ranging from Rs 5000-10000  is where we see maximum revenue coming from in the near future.

 

AB: At present, what is your market share in the watch retail?

BB: Currently our market share is 65% in organized sector but Titan is organizing itself to move to more premium priced timepieces to fill the gap of wide variety of watches and brands in the market.

 

AB: What strategies are you adhering to while disposing your unsold stock of watches? How has been the response?

BB: Twice a year, we have activation schemes and discount to dispose our unsold stock and we get positive response to dispose our inventory.

 

AB: How has franchising helped you to growth to such a large size? What is the strategy behind this?

BB: Franchising is the strong element of our growth. We have maintained strong relationship with our business associates who have invested in our other formats too thereby increasing profits and also building social relationship. Thus we have succeeded in creating a virtuous cycle with them.

 

AB: Are you taking Helios also to the franchising route to expand?

BB: No, not at present.

 

AB: How much is the investment involved in the interiors of Helios format?

BB: Helios is a company format and if a store is 2000 sq feet our investment interiors would be 5000 per sq foot.

 

AB: What is the percentage of men and women stock ideally kept in a store?

BB: Based on sales—we, typically stock 40% women and 60% men watches in the stores.

 

AB: On manufacturing side, do you have any tie up with the international brands?

BB: We had collaboration with the French company and Swiss company. We work with international designers but not in manufacturing. We only have collaboration with international companies on manufacturing front.

 

AB: What kind of timepieces would be in demand say in next 2 years in India?

BB: Fashion watches will be in great demand in the next couple of years mainly in the price band of 5K to 10k.

 

 

 

Bhaskar Bhat , MD, Titan Industries
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