Chennai: The Rs 80 crore turnover Archies Greetings and Gifts is planning to enter the children's stationery market in a major way. The greeting cards company will launch crayons, erasers, pencils, sharpeners and geometry boxes. It has set up a separate distribution network for the purpose.
"With our product portfolio diversified, Archies Greetings is today more of a retailing unit than a mere greeting cards company. To signify this, the board has decided to change the company's name into Archies Ltd", says Archies' executive director Vijayant Chhabra.
The company plans to increase its own stores by 60 to 100 in a year and half. There are around 500 franchisees. Archies Greetings, started as a greeting cards company way back in 1979, got into the gifts and perfumes market three years back. "Last fiscal we sold perfumes worth Rs 11.50 crore", Chhabra says.
Agreeing that short messaging service (SMS) and e-greeting cards are threats to the greeting card companies, Archies' executive director Pramod Arora says: "The unique thing about cards is that they are preserved by the recipients, whereas an e-card or SMS is junked immediately. If you want to receive a card then you will have to send one. This is going to be the central message of our new campaign."
Arora says the decline in greeting card sales has bottomed out if one goes by the card sales during Valentine's Day. In the meantime, as part of an increased thrust in the Chennai market, Archies Greetings has opened its second exclusive retail outlet in the city. Three more are in the offing within one year, says Chhabra. The store, spread over 2,000 sq ft, will vend the company's entire range of products - cards, gift articles, perfumes, music cassettes, CDs, fashion jewellery and others.
Arora says Tamil Nadu contributes around 5 per cent to the companys total turnover. The company earns 51 per cent selling cards, 21 per cent from gift articles, perfumes contribute 24 per cent and the balance are from other products.