Marketing review

25 Oct 2007


Catalogue retail pilot at Shoppers’ Stop
Shoppers’ Stop is coming out with a brand new retail format, the HyperCity Argos catalogue.

According to BS Nagesh, who is designated as “customer care associate”, managing director and CEO of Shopper’s Stop, the format will have a pilot run for suburban Mumbai, of at least two catalogue seasons. That would mean that it would take Shoppers’ Stop around a year to establish the model before it can commence a wider rollout.

Earlier in the year, the UK-based catalogue retailer Home Retail Group Plc had signed up a memorandum of understanding with the Indian retail major and with HyperCity Retail to develop the company’s catalogue retailing format in India.

The retail major says its new format will be a catalogue called HyperCity Argos that will sell merchandise sourced globally across multiple retail categories. The company claims that it will be one of the most convenient ways of shopping ever introduced to the Indian market.

Market sources indicate that the pilot run will happen in Mumbai suburb of Mulund, the neighbouring city of Thane followed by the Vashi and Airoli nodes of neighbouring Navi Mumbai, and later, Pune.

Acer brings in the Festival Season with the launch of “Acer Mania”
New Delhi
: Acer India, has announced an exclusive retail scheme, designed specifically for their retail partners across the country for the last quarter of calendar year 2007, named “Acer Mania”, which is open to all Acer Mall and Acer Points across the country.

The retail initiative been designed to reward retail partners through a host of schemes that are available to them on a monthly and quarterly basis, in addition to ongoing “regular” schemes for channel partners.

Under the Acer Mania program, a monthly booster scheme will reward retailers for achieving the quarter’s targets, and an exclusive booster scheme for AMD based Acer SKUs and pre load OS based Acer SKUs, in partnership with Microsoft.

The scheme comes as a shot in the arm for retail partners during the festival shopping season.

According to S Rajendran, general manager, sales and marketing at Acer India, “With the retail industry becoming a more mature market in India the consumer has multiple choices of brands each day. Retailing has become a key medium to reach out to customers. In such a scenario, it is very important to reward and recognize the efforts of our retail community.

“This incentive scheme is one of many initiatives that we have for our retail partners. Acer has always set new standards in everything we have pursued. Recognition as innovators and a reputation as leaders in our field is something that we have always strived for”.

The “Acer Mania” is split into five sub-schemes called, “Mr. Dependable”, “Mad about AMD challenge”, “Acer - MS Genuine Software Challenge”, “Digital Lifestyle Evangelist” & the “Top Gun Challenge”.

The “Mr. Dependable” contest rewards partners who achieve their target every month in the quarter.

The “Mad about AMD challenge” award is an exclusive contest on AMD notebooks & desktops, where Acer will continue to test the demand for AMD within the retail community.

The “Acer - MS Genuine Software Challenge” is an initiative in partnership with Microsoft to reward partners who buy machines with a pre loaded operating systems (OS), typically Vista Home basic, Vista Business, or Vista Home premium.

The “Digital Lifestyle Evangelist” contest is a rewards program based on Acer’s premium lifestyle product line, such as the Ferrari and the ultra-small Form Factor series, Travel Mate 6292, and the Aspire 4920.

The “Top Gun Challenge” runs on a six month target with partners who achieve their targets standing a chance to travel to Europe.

French Connection UK to set up shop in Pune’s Central Mall
: French Connection UK (FCUK), the UK’s hi-fashion brand, is reportedly opening a store in Pune, at the Central Mall.

The 956 sq ft store will be its fifth outlet in India, adding to its three in Mumbai and one in New Delhi.

The brand will showcase the Autumn-Winter 2007 collection that covers western formals to casuals, and accessories, including a mix of traditional bags and oversized holdalls that have multi-pocket compartments.

The store will not have FCUK’s kids range on display on account of space constraints. FCUK’s range starts at about Rs1,295, and its accessories section is expected to soon widen its product range by including the likes of sunglasses and perfumes.

FCUK has another outlet at New Delhi and two in Gurgaon on the launch pad, which will most probably be open by December 2007.

Videocon optimistic about tie-ups with retailers
: Videocon Industries is eyeing a sales turnover of Rs250 crore, from modern retail formats, having reportedly signed a series of memorandums of understandings (MoUs) with retailers.

The company has “assured business” from modern retail chains like the Future Group, Spencer’s and even its own Next. Company sources indicate that the Future Group’s Home Solutions sub-brand, and Spencer’s Retail have each assured Rs10 crore sales for Videocon’s consumer durable business.

Videocon is also reported to have agreements with new retailers like Reliance Digital to boost its consumer durables business. The company says it has seen business worth Rs196 crore through these new retail formats, and expects it to go up to Rs250 crore before the end of the year.

For the festive season, Videocon is using these large retail spaces to display its premium products such as LCD televisions, automatic washing machines and frost-free refrigerators.

Videocon is reportedly eyeing the premium range of the colour television market with a new LCD sub-brand, Time Engine. The company is leveraging quality technology from its our research centres in China and Korea, and hopes to challenge the segment leaders Samsung and LG through competitive pricing. Videocon reportedly has a 21 per cent market share of the LCD TV segment, under its Integra brand.

Videocon is looking at selling around 5 lakh colour televisions this festive season, some of which will have new features such as LCDs with a in-built 80GB hard drive that would allow up to 50 hours of recording, and LCDs enhanced sound systems such as cinema surround with a 1000W PMPO sound output.

Skoda Auto may bring to market a 1.6-litre Octavia variant
: Skoda Auto India is reportedly mulling introducing a 1.6-litre variant in the Octavia range.

The present Octavia range has a 1.9-litre diesel and 1.8-litre turbo petrol variant.

However, the company says that through it is looking at various updates on the Octavia, those range from style to powertrain, and is for the present, refraining to endorse or deny any comments or speculation since it is yet to finalise its plans for the car.

Market sources indicate that in all likelihood, a key reason for a possible 1.6-litre Octavia is the launch of the Laura Ambiente, a new variant in the Laura range, which is now available at Rs12.90 lakh (ex-showroom, Thane), dangerously close to the Octavia’s price points of Rs11.61 lakh and Rs14.73 lakh (ex-showroom, Thane).

The Laura has features superior to those in the Octavia, and comes with a more contemporary design, and at the Rs12.90 lakh price point, a great value for money proposition as well, which experts believe will most definitely eat into Octavia’s market share.

Company sources, however, say that the Octavia has its own distinct identity, and would continue to see good numbers due to its brand image built over the last six years.

Honda planning two new cars for India
: Honda SEIL is planning new product launches in the Indian market in 2008, across both the premium sub-compact and luxury segments.

The company is reportedly in the process of developing and homologating two models, the Jazz, and the Civic Hybrid, for the requirements of the Indian market.

The two cars, according to reports, will open up new segment focuses for the company.

The Honda Jazz will come to India in its current version that is already available in many markets worldwide, except for the engine which will be a smaller 1.2-litre power pack, toned down essentially to avail of the lower excise duty.

Honda’s Civic Hybrid has an electric motor and a conventional petrol engine, and will reportedly come to market next year.

Daihatsu okay with partnering Toyota for India foray
: Small car champion Daihatsu has reportedly said that Suzuki Motor’s mammoth market share in India has been the reason the small car company has not activated any plans for the country.

However, Daihatsu is open to partnering with Toyota to launch a small car in India, according to the company’s president Teruyuki Minoura, who was speaking to the media at the 40th edition of the Tokyo Motor Show.

According to Minoura, though India has a mouth watering market size, the fact that Suzuki has almost half the market is the reason why Daihatsu is yet to make its India debut, as it does not want to take on the market leader head-on. Adding further, he said that the company was willing to consider partnering with Toyota Motor Corporation for launching a car in the Indian market, saying that it could be possible that Daihatsu would not come into India on its own

According to market sources, Toyota should not delay its launch of a small car in the Indian market, as almost 80 per cent of the country’s car market is in the sub-Rs5 lakh range, and a presence in that segment is necessitated if a car company wants to truly benefit from its Indian presence.

Daihatsu’s website does refer to “global expansion” as key to the company’s growth, though it does not make any statement about its India plans, if any.

Daihatsu is owned by the Toyota Motor Corporation. At the Tokyo Motor Show, it unveiled a concept car called HSC, which is a 660cc car that provides a fuel efficiency of almost 43km per litre. The car is a mini-sedan, capable of seating four passengers, though the company does not have any plans for its immediate launch.

PepsiCo launched the Tropicana Twister
: PepsiCo India has launched Tropicana Twister, its international fruit drink range in India.

Initially launched in South India, the brand will soon foray into other regions of the country.

The Indian fruit juice segment (based on fruit pulp) and fruit drink segment (which is mostly synthetic) are together estimated at Rs1,200 crore, and are reported to be the second fastest growing liquid refreshment beverage, at 20 per cent per annum.

Reportedly, Dabur’s Real is the market leader of the category, tailed closely by Pepsi’s Tropicana. PepsiCo India estimates that the fruit juice and fruit drink segment will soon account for 50 per cent of the company’s revenue growth.

The Tropicana Twister’s delay in coming to the Indian market has been attributed to some degree of necessary customisation to its taste and flavour, to make it more compatible with the Indian palate.

SBI Card innovates offerings with easy payment options
: SBI Card, the SBI – GE joint venture card issuer, has announced a credit card ‘Paycash’ payment option for its customers through Easy Bill payment outlets in India.

The facility will allow SBI Card customers to make direct cash payments against their card outstandings at 3500 available Easy Bill merchant outlets throughout India.

Customers can now use any of the following easy payment options at SBI Card:

  • Paycash – Payments in cash through Easy Bill outlets
  • Pay Net: SBI Card holders can make payments online with no extra charges, via the SBI card website.
  • SBI ATM: Payment can be made at SBI ATM’s by using State Bank ATM cum debit card
  • Online SBI: Pay online, directly from SBI bank account. Log on to
  • Electronic Clearing System: SBI card holders can make payment directly by authorizing SBI Card to debit an account of any bank
  • Visa Money Transfer: VISA Money Transfer to transfer funds to pay monthly outstanding bill

Roopam Asthana, CEO, SBI Cards & Payment Services called the initiative “yet another step in enhancing customer satisfaction, which is the top priority at SBI Card.”

SBI Card is the second largest credit card issuer in the country, with 3.5 million cardholders. It has displayed a CAGR (Compounded Annual Growth Rate) of 45 per cent on spends & assets since the start of the decade, and is currently present in over 113 sourcing locations, with a sales force of over 6,000.

SpiceJet counting on tier II cities to generate more lift
: Low-cost airline SpiceJet is keenly looking at tier II Indian cities to for possible expansion of its operational network.

SpiceJet has proposed daily flights from Coimbatore to Delhi, Mumbai and Hyderabad, and twice daily connections to Chennai from October 25.

Coimbatore would be the 17th destination on SpiceJet network.

Flights between Coimbatore and Mumbai, Hyderabad and Chennai would be direct. The Coimbatore - Delhi flight will operate via Hyderabad.

According to Kamal Hingorani, vice president of sales and marketing at SpiceJet, said that the company would commence daily flights from Coimbatore within the next two days, with the induction of new Boeing 737–800 aircraft.

SpiceJet currently has 16 aircraft, with the 17th arriving in a day to start Coimbatore operations. The airline aims to have 24 planes by December 2008, and thereafter plans to add three aircraft each year for the next three years.

Western Union and GSMA to create new global mobile money transfer service; Airtel leads the initiative from the front
New York
: The GSM Association (GSMA), a global trade association representing over 700 GSM mobile phone operators, and The Western Union Company, a global leader in money-transfer services, have announced an agreement to facilitate the development of cross-border mobile money transfer services.

Western Union and the GSMA are developing a commercial and technical framework, which mobile operators can use to deploy services that allow consumers to send and receive low-denomination, high-frequency money transfers using their mobile phones.

According to a press release on Western Union’s website, thirty-five GSMA operators with a customer base of more than 800 million across over 100 countries are participating in the GSMA Mobile Money Transfer program.

Led by Sunil Mittal, chairman and managing director of Bharti Airtel, the Mobile Money Transfer program is overseen by a steering committee made up of representatives from Bharti, MTN, Orange, Orascom, Smart, Telenor and VimpelCom.

Says Mittal, “Remittances are playing a vital role in the social and economic development of India and many other developing countries. This initiative will bring down the cost of lower-value and high-frequency mobile remittances considerably and also enable smaller amounts to be transferred in a fast and secure fashion, thereby benefiting millions of people in the developing world."

The first commercial services that make use of the framework are expected to be ready for rollout at the beginning of the second quarter of 2008.

The framework forms a key element of both Western Union''s mobile strategy and the GSMA''s Mobile Money Transfer program, which aims to use the reach and ease of mobile money transfer services to expand the mobile financial services market and stimulate social and economic development.

Mobile money transfer services will make it simple, quick and affordable for more people to send small amounts of money through a conventional and regulated system.

Both Western Union and the GSMA believe there is an opportunity to create and grow a large new market for low-denomination transfers.

According to Rob Conway, CEO of the GSMA, "Mobile networks now cover more than 80 per cent of the world''s population, and 3 billion people have a mobile phone, creating an unprecedented opportunity to extend the benefits of financial services to the majority of the world''s families for the first time. Mobile money transfers are a key driver in the development of a potentially vast market for financial services delivered via the mobile phone."

Says Christina Gold, Western Union president and CEO, "Western Union has a long tradition of innovation. Our focus on the mobile money transfer space is an important step in expanding the range of Western Union''s global services to a new category of consumers. Our brand, extensive network, and compliance capabilities, combined with the GSMA members'' market reach, uniquely positions Western Union in the mobile money transfer marketplace."

The Western Union mobile service will connect operators to Western Union''s existing global money transfer system, which processed approximately 17 per cent of the world''s remittance volume in 2006.

Once connected to the Western Union service, operators will be able to use their own "mobile wallet" software to enable person-to-person mobile money transfers over Western Union''s cross-border remittance network.

The Mobile Money Transfer service will enable consumers to transfer money to or from “mobile wallets”, and will offer a global network of Western Union agent locations for cash-to-mobile and mobile-to-cash transactions.

Western Union, together with its affiliates Orlandi Valuta and Vigo, is a leading provider of global money-transfer services, having over 312,000 agent locations in over 200 countries and territories.

The GSM Association (GSMA) is the global trade association representing more than 700 GSM mobile phone operators across 218 countries and territories of the world. In addition, more than 200 manufacturers and suppliers support the Association''s initiatives as key partners. The organisation’s primary goals are to ensure mobile phones and wireless services work globally and are easily accessible, enhancing their value to individual customers and national economies, whiles creating news business opportunities for operators and their suppliers.

The GSMA’s members serve over two billion customers, roughly about 82 per cent of the world''s mobile phone users.

BPCL to invest Rs600 crore to expand retail network over 5 yrs
: State-owned oil company Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL) is planning to invest around Rs600 crore over the coming five year period to beef up its retail outlet network, according to company sources.

The company is looking at opening around 250 ''Ghar'' outlets, with each having a ''dhaba'', and will fall under the allied retail business division of the company. BPCL presently has around 16 "Ghar" outlets, with each carrying out 40 per cent “fuel activities”, and the remaining 60 per cent comprising “non-fuel” or shopping and entertainment related initiatives.

Located mainly on highways, these outlets have a substantial land requirement of around three to five acres, and are featuring as an important part of BPCL’s retail strategy along the highways.

A better highway network, coupled with an increasing number of people travelling by road has brought retail options along highways to the forefront. Amongst other things, road travellers demand quality food, and hygiene, which is what BPCL is planning to offer.

GoAir to double flight operations from end-October; plans “red-eye” connections
: Adding two new aircraft to its existing fleet by November 2007 as part of its expansion plans, GoAir has announced that it will be doubling its current flight operations from the end of the month.

This is part of the airlines’ frequency enhancement programme being rolled out across Go Air’s network., which will see it double the overall frequency of its network by increasing its flight operations from 259 to 561 commercial flights per week.

Go Air’s is going ahead with this new strategy despite the absence of plans to add new destinations to its current network during the current fiscal. All plans, for now, centre around the 11 destinations Go Air currently operates in.

GoAir’s new operational strategy comes at a time when the airline has been seeing a consistent load factor in excess of 80 per cent over the past few months, driven by a 123 per cent growth in its passenger traffic at the close of Q2.

Announcing GoAir’s winter schedule, and the first phase of the rollout of its frequency building programme, Jeh Wadia, managing director, Go Air, said, “We are bundling new weekly flights as part of our capacity expansion during the new winter schedule across our network.”

He said GoAir will now operate 177 weekly departures from Mumbai, from Delhi, 40 from Hyderabad, 49 from Bangalore, 36 from Goa, 28 from Jaipur, 21 from Ahmedabad, 27 from Chennai, and 14 from Cochin, amongst others.

That takes the total weekly flights operated by GoAir to 561. The new flights are schedule to commence operations from October 28, 2007.

Through its frequency enhancement programme, GoAir plans to consolidate its position for the 11 destinations in which it operates, through what the company calls “the key focus is to reiterate consumer commitment an ensure consumer comfort.”

Go Air also plans to start its “Red Eye” operations from October-end.

The flights get their name from the fatigue symptom of having red eyes. Red-eye flights are usually operated late at night or very early in the morning, during the period from 9:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. local time. They are also sometimes called "dry flight", since there is an absence of moisture in the air at high altitudes during late evening and early mornings.

As part of its proposed plan, Go Air will operate four red eyes within its current network. These will ply between Mumbai and Delhi (23:10), Hyderabad and Mumbai (23:30), Mumbai and Ahmedabad (23:05), and Ahmedabad and Mumbai (00:35).

Jeh Wadia said that Go Air’s red eye operations would find suitability amongst those passengers who do not mind travelling by the late night or early morning flights. The airlines’ red eye operations are aimed at cutting down long travelling hours spent on a train to cover the same distance, and it is optimistic about passenger response.

GoAir is betting that Red Eye flights will assist those small and medium enterprise (SMEs) and business travellers who after finishing meetings late in the day, need to connect with a new destination the following morning.

Wadia says GoAir has witnessed a considerable rise in business travellers due to its focus on providing quality service, best on-time performance, and quick turnaround of aircraft that average around 25 minutes.

Starlet Neha Dhupia inaugurates Piramyd Lifestyle Store at the Capital City
New Delhi
: Lifestyle retailing major Piramyd Retail Ltd., which is a part of the Ashok Piramal Group, has announced the launch of its latest Piramyd Lifestyle Store at Shalimar Bagh in West Delhi.

Urvi Piramal, chairperson of the Ashok Piramal group, inaugurated the store with guest celebrity Neha Dhupia. Also present at the inauguration were Nandan Piramal, executive vice chairman of Piramyd Retail, and Vishal Mirchandani, chief executive officer of Lifestyle Stores, Piramyd Retail Ltd.

Neha Dhupia, who was present at the store, cut the ribbon and declared the store open. Speaking on the occasion, she said, "Style and glamour are no longer restricted to just stars and Bollywood celebrities. Piramyd has always been at the forefront setting new trends and pioneering the shopping mall concept in India. The launch of Piramyd store brings trends to the doorsteps of consumers in Delhi".

The store aims to provide shoppers with a variety of International and Indian brands in men''s wear, women''s wear, kids wear, home fashion and accessories.

Located in the up-market Shalimar Bagh neighbourhood of West Delhi, the new store spans 65,000 sq ft of floor space, adding a refreshing dimension to lifestyle retailing in the national capital region.

The new store will display the latest collections from Park Avenue, Levi''s, Arrow, Lee, Allen Solly, Wills Lifestyle, Elizabeth Arden, Christian Dior, Hugo Boss, Longines, as well as its popular in-house labels such as Rudra, Venti Uno, Peppermint, and Enya among others.

Speaking at the launch, Nandan Piramal, executive vice chairman, Piramyd Retail Ltd. said, "Piramyd has always been at the forefront of lifestyle retail and this new store is another step towards providing the fashion conscious customer in Delhi with more choice. Today, we have over 1.2 lakh Piramyd Power Club members, who are testimony to the popularity of the brand.”

Piramal also added the company has chartered an aggressive growth plan, for which he has “a dedicated and competent team in place to ensure its execution”.

Piramyd hopes to close this financial year with close to 1 million square feet of retail space. It is on the look out for opportunities to offer its customers with the latest trends and easy access to the world of fashion, according to Piramal. Adding further, Piramal said, "We have studied the Delhi market well before our entry; Delhi has shown tremendous growth potential in the key markets, one of them being Shalimar Bagh which has changed the retail landscape of the area. We are extremely upbeat about the launch of our Piramyd Lifestyle store in this vicinity".

Piramyd will sport a brand new identity with respect to the logo, brand communication, physical layout and merchandise. This re-branding is part of the national re-launch of the new look that Piramyd kicked off with an innovative brand campaign earlier this month.

Piramyd Retail Ltd (PRL) is a part of the diversified Ashok Piramal Group, operates two retail formats under the brand name of Piramyd Lifestyle Store and TruMart. The company currently runs 7 Piramyd Lifestyle Stores, which is a fashion lifestyle chain having a pan India presence with stores in 6 cities. It offers the Piramyd Power Club Loyalty program for its customers, which offers a host of benefits to make their shopping more rewarding.

TCL introduces “Health TVs” this Diwali
: TCL India Holdings Pvt Ltd., an emerging Consumer Electronics global major has introduced “Health TVs” on the occasion of Diwali.

The company also announced a Free Medical Check-up this festive season for all its customers.

TCL is an emerging global major with a brand valuation of over $4.7 billion, and a presence in over 100 countries. It has four state-of-the-art research and development centres in key strategic locations.

Over a span of 26 years, TCL has become the largest manufacturer of television sets in the world, with sales of 21 million sets in 2006 alone.

TCL’s global expansion plans have witnessed the company’s entry into the Indian market by through a 100 per cent subsidiary, TCL India Holdings Pvt. Ltd., in September 2004. TCL commenced the manufacturing of colour televisions, followed by air conditioners, washing machines and small home appliances. The company has 24 branch offices spread across the country, with a dealer network of over 5000, supported by 127 service franchisees.

TCL has brought to the Indian market, a wide range of consumer electronics that include 25 models of colour televisions, 5 models of LCD TVs, 2 models of projection TVs, 6 models of DVD players, 8 models of washing machines, 8 models of split air conditioners, and an extensive range of innovative small home appliances.

TCL intends to launch digital IT products and mobile phones shortly.

Speaking on the occasion, Rajesh Rathi, vice president of sales at TCL India Holdings said, “Diwali is the most important festival in India. Every Diwali we wish our near & dear ones a safe Diwali. We, at TCL have taken an initiative to wish our customers not only a safe but also a Diwali full of eternal health and happiness for which we have introduced the new range of Health TVs. These Health TVs come with a special TCL X-guard, which is a special X–ray protection technology that protects the viewer from high-energy waves emitted from the TV due to unsteady voltage. We have also taken a step further and would be offering our customers a Free Medical Check up.”

TCL Health TVs come at a starting price of Rs5000.

The company’s “Healthy Bhi Lucky Bhi Offer” offers gifts and discounts to customers, while the scratch card offer gives customers a chance to win a trip to China as a bumper prize. To participate in the scratch card offer, all that the customer needs to do is buy any TCL product and win a free medical check up or a float glass set.

To give a push to TCL’s marketing and promotional activities, the company recently declared their new brand strategy, “The Creative Life”.

India, being one of the fastest growing economies in the world, features as one of the most strategic markets in TCL’s global expansion plans.

Reliance relaunches Vimal with a New Look and More Offerings
: Iconic textile brand from the Reliance stable, Vimal, was re-launched with a new look, logo and offering.

With the re-launch, Reliance says the first Indian textile brand that was popular with millions is once again back with contemporary products that will appeal to the consumers in a relevant, modern and contemporary manner.

According to the company, the new logo displays a new spirit of openness, by breaking free from the oblong. The minimalist lettering and styling convey this new open spirit and are also in line with the new fashion thinking of clean and bold lines.

Vimal says this form and style of the logo also makes it more appealing and relevant to the youth. The innovative logo design is in tune with Vimal’s core strategy of ‘premium, innovative products that will delight consumers’.

The overall brand colour has been retained as red, given Vimal’s heritage, and given that red is a rich colour of celebration and warmth for Indians.

In yesteryears, Vimal had a status of being a brand that embodied ‘fashion for everyone’ through its wide range of fabrics. The new logo of Vimal takes off from this heritage and the DNA of the brand, to contemporise its ubiquitous appeal.

The core quality of ‘fashion for everyone’ will now be highlighted in a contemporary and trendy manner.

Vimal already hosts a wide range of men’s fabrics. Now post the re-launch, Vimal will be available with a lot more youth appeal, through Ready-to-Wear Apparel.

According to a press release by the company, Vimal will launch a range of men’s apparel to suit every well-groomed man’s wardrobe, including shirts, trousers, suits and jackets, designed in keeping with Vimal’s strategy of ‘Premium, innovative products that will delight consumers’.

These apparels would come to market in three sub-brands that appeal to distinct sections of Vimal’s male audience, as follows:
1. Vimal Red: This sub-brand would have a range of apparel with popular pricing, and would appeal to a wide segment of the men’s wear market; both at the popular level as well the younger age groups. For the present, this range of apparel would have basic formals to suit everyday wearing occasions.
2. Vimal White: A premium and trendy range of apparel, this sub-brand would enjoy premium pricing, and would appeal to those who would like to cut a trendy image. The sub-brand will carry a distinctive range of formals with innovations in dressing ensures that the ‘trendy’ appeal of the range comes through.
3. Vimal Black: This is the top-of-the-line sub-brand that retails only exclusive finely crafted apparel, designed in the Italian fashion under the tutelage of Italy’s well-known fashion designer, Maurizio Bonas. This line of super-premium apparel appeals to those who wish to convey a statement of luxury and elegance.

These sub-brands would be available in the exclusive Vimal stores and in all the other stores carrying the Vimal line.

Vimal Black would only be available at the exclusive Vimal stores, a number of which will be opened shortly.

Vimal also plans to offer a whole new retailing experience through its new exclusive outlets, which are being transformed in-line with its new identity. These exclusive stores will reflect the bold new spirit of Vimal through their new décor, designs and layout, and will offer top-of-the-line customer shopping experiences and facilities, such as custom tailoring and styling.

Commenting on the unveiling of the brand, Nita Ambani congratulated all the members of the Vimal team for “outstanding teamwork”. Nita Ambani has been involved with all aspects relating to the re-launch, store design, branding and customer experience in Vimal re-launch programme.

She added, “We are all very proud of this moment of reviving the Vimal brand which I am sure will once regain the market leadership it enjoyed and top-of-the-mind recall.”

Arvind Mills unveils retail plan attain a billion dollars in turnover by 2012
New Delhi
: Arvind Mills has announced a retail plan to reach a sales turnover of a billion dollars by 2012. The company will reportedly invest around Rs400 crore in the venture.

According to Sanjay Lalbhai, chairman and managing director of Arvind Mills, “The retail space is buzzing and we think the time is perfect for us to announce our retail plans. Our retail expansion will straddle several formats. We would like to be present across the entire spectrum - value retail, to premium retail to luxury retail. Various options for entry into these sectors are being considered. We are ready with our plans for Megamart. This will be our first leg of retail expansion.”

According to Lalbhai, “We pioneered the value retail space with ‘Megamart’. Megamart currently is a 70-strong network, across 25 cities. Now we plan to aggressively expand this concept through the launch of Megamart Outlet Centre which will be 50,000 to 60,000 sq feet large format value stores.”

Lalbhai said the company has already signed up prime properties in Chennai, Pune and Hyderabad for the expansion. These 3 stores will be operational during the course of this financial year. The first store in Chennai is expected to open in December 2007.

The company plans to sign-up several more properties during the coming months.
Megamart plans to have 25 to 30 such Megamart Outlet Centres up and running across the top 20 Indian cities over the next 4 years.

The “Outlet Centre” concept operates with the objective of grouping a large number of brand outlet stores at the same location. An outlet store offers their merchandise to consumers at reduced prices, and the model offers a wide range of high-quality brand-name goods in a concentrated space at value prices.

The Megamart Outlet Centres will house a select set of brands. Megamart Outlet
Centre says it will offer a great combination of an international shopping experience, value prices, and ambiences at par with some of the best retail chains of the world.

To achieve this, Megamart has engaged the services of reputed design house JHP London, an award winning design consultancy firm to design their stores.

JHP has designed and executed several retail projects throughout the world, and are the designers behind Selfridges, ASDA and other leading retail destinations globally, including retail space of the upcoming Heathrow Terminals.

To provide unparalleled service to customers, Megamart is investing heavily on training
Fashion Assistants who will man the Outlet Centres, alongside sizeable investments in information technology.

UTV announces the launch of ‘World Movies’
New Delhi
: UTV, the diversified media entity has announced the launch of ‘World Movies’, a channel dedicated to international movies from across the globe.

The 24-hour channel will feature contemporary movies, which are box office hits in their home countries.

According to a press release by UTV, the channel has the largest library of world movies under a single roof, which will allow it to offer customers a movie experience beyond just Hollywood.

Movie genres include drama, suspense, thrillers, and award winning family movies, Japanese horror and Asian action movies as well. The focus is on contemporary, commercially successful, glamorous, youthful ‘World Movies’ in various languages, subtitled in English.

UTV Software Communications Ltd. is an Indian media & entertainment company that spans four verticals including motion pictures, broadcasting, TV content and interactive (i.e. Animation and Gaming). Walt Disney Inc holds a strategic stake in UTV.

Speaking about the initiative, Shantonu Aditya, chief executive officer of V&S Broadcasting said, “The non-Indian language movie segment is estimated to be Rs1500 crore by 2009, and the launch of ‘World Movies’ is an initiative from UTV to tap this growing market. The channel will offer the global Indian consumer an experience of a newer kind of content and ‘entertainment’, which will be completely unique and different from what they are currently exposed to.”

UTV Global Broadcasting Ltd (UGBL), the broadcast arm of UTV Software Communications Ltd, has a bouquet of channels in the offing, which it will also distribute.

The first TV channel from the bouquet, Bindass, was launched in September 2007, and the bouquet plans to position itself as “India''s first 360* Entertainment Brand for Young India”, and related four channels under the brand name ''Bindass''.

The second brand of channels will come under the banner of V&S Broadcasting Ltd, which will include ''World Movies'' Channel, a Hindi Movie Channel and two other channels along with an English language business news channel, which according to the company, “has the most sought after editorial team”.

With viewers increasingly looking for entertaining, contemporary movies irrespective of language or origin, the channel aims to offer just that to the discerning Indian viewer, breaking the perception of international movies being “arty”, intellectual and cause-oriented.

UTV plans to bring in some innovative marketing activities to promote the channel in the coming month.

Electrolux claims break-even this fiscal
New Delhi
: Electrolux India looking to breakeven during this fiscal, which is its second year of operations coming under the wing of Videocon Industries.

Videocon acquired the company in 2005. It now operates with only the Electrolux brand. The Kelvinator brand, which was with Electrolux prior to the acquisition, has been housed with another company in the Videocon fold.

Presently, Electrolux markets refrigerators, washing machines, air conditioners and microwave ovens, with the range soon to cover new product lines.

For Electrolux, the financial year should closed with sales of Rs600 crore, and a profit of Rs15 crore, if it achieves the targets it has set for itself. Last year, it had posted a net loss of Rs42 crore.

Electrolux presently claims an eight per cent share of the refrigerator market, and a 4 per cent share of the washing machine segment.

Reports indicate that the company is also looking to introduce some products from its Swedish parent’s stable, which could include dishwashers, vacuum cleaners, hobs and hoods, coffee makers and mixers. Reportedly, the company plans to introduce dishwashers and front-loading washing machines in the Indian market during the coming year, initially importing them, and later on moving them to local production lines.

By February 2008, other products in its portfolio would commence manufacture at a Greenfield facility at Kashipur (Uttarakhand), which is common for other appliances companies in the Videocon stable.

Currently, Electrolux’s Direct Cool refrigerators are being manufactured at its Shahjahanpur facility in Rajasthan. At the Nagpur facility, the company makes the smaller frost-free fridges (smaller than the 280 litre capacity).

Kotak Mahindra Bank to launch credit cards by March
: As part of its retail expansion plans, Kotak Mahindra Bank intends to launch its credit card business by March 2008.

According to KVS Manian, group head of retail liabilities and branch banking for Kotak Mahindra Bank, the bank plans to come out with silver, gold and platinum credit cards, targeting target high net worth individuals. Kotak Mahindra Bank in reportedly planning to go it alone in its credit card venture, rather than have tie ups with other affiliates in the business.
Its retail expansion will also see a growth of its branch network, from its present 134 branches across 92 locations.

By May 2008 the bank plans to have over 200 branches, according to Manian, besides 75 additional ATMs by February 2008, which will see its ATM tally double to 150 from the existing 75.

According to V Swaminathan, head of corporate relationship management and retail liabilities at Kotak Mahindra Bank, the bank presently has around 400 to 450 corporates banking with it. To better service their needs, the bank is looking at innovative investment methods that will assist corporate salaried individuals, including home banking, investment accounts, and demat accounts.

Kotak Mahindra is also looking to double its corporate account base from the present 20 per cent to 40 per cent by the end of this financial year.

Raymond closing its designer wear brand Be:, planning a brand repositioning exercise
: Raymond Ltd has decided to withdraw its designer wear Be: brand with the intention of repositioning it sans the exclusivity.

Be: has 13 stores, with a store each in Ahmedabad, Ludhiana, Hyderabad, Chennai, Kolkata, two each in Bangalore, Mumbai and three in Delhi.

According to sources, the company is re-evaluating the brand, and its associations with designers, in light of shedding the “exclusive” image, and has already shut down its stores across Mumbai and Delhi.

The company will reportedly undertake a brand repositioning exercise that will see it take on a much larger scale across the country, appealing to a different target audience.

In its present avatar, Be: appeals to a niche segment, offering a wide range of apparel and accessories for women across categories namely women’s western wear, women’s ethnic wear, lounge wear and club wear.

The brand’s repositioning exercise will reportedly see it climb down a few notches in price and target audience, but will not dilute itself to a mass brand. It will also evaluate its associations with designers as part of the repositioning.

Launched in 2001, Be: was Raymond’s first prêt-a- porter line of designer clothing, with a plan for almost 50 boutiques across six cities in India, and one in Dubai. The line had apparel and accessories from designers such as Priyadarshini Rao, Raghavendra Rathore, Rohit Bal and Rajesh Pratap Singh, ranging between the price points of Rs600 to Rs6,000.

Power House Sports set to go nation wide
New Delhi:
Gymnasium chain Power House Sports is looking to establish a nation wide presence by starting up 100 centres over the next five years.

The national capital region- (NCR) based fitness company is looking to capitalise on the growing interest for health and fitness amongst people across Indian cities. Even in the national capital region (NCR), where it has a visible presence, its membership has shown phenomenal growth in the last one year.

According to R K Dhingra of Power House Sports, fitness is on top of everyone’s agenda, and the company wants to offer the opportunity to keep fit to people across the country.

The company is reportedly likely to adopt the franchisee model in the interest of a well-paced nation wide rollout, though it would own some of the centres. Initial rollout plans have the cities of Mumbai, Pune, Indore, Ahmedabad and Bangalore for the immediate term.

Power House Sports also plans to open stores for the sale of fitness equipment and machines in the same cities where it is putting up its gymnasiums.

Reliance Communications and Verizon to provide data roaming in the US
: The Anil Dhirubhai Ambani''s Group’s Reliance Communications (RCom) now has the title of the first Indian telecom company to launch international data roaming services.

RCom’s customers can now connect to the Internet through their mobile phones, while travelling in the US.

According to RCom president S P Shukla, the company has partnered US telecom giant Verizon to provide these roaming data services. He said that the company was the first CDMA operator in India to offer data roaming facilities to customers travelling to the US. RCom’s customers can now seamlessly connect for making calls, checking e-mails or even surfing the net, while travelling in the United States.

RCom had introduced international voice roaming services in the US two years ago, with charges that were 67 per cent lower than competitive GSM telecom operators.

Shukla said that following the US, RCom proposes to launch their international data roaming services in Canada, to soon be followed by Latin America, and later across Asian countries like Japan, South Korea, and China, along with other countries that use CDMA technology for their mobile phone networks.

As part of their agreement with Verizon, international data roaming will also be provided to visitors from the US who travel across India. Once this facility is launched in other countries, the same courtesy will be extended to travellers from those countries.

According to Shukla, an estimated one million business visitors travel to the US from India, some more than once a year. On average, they spend Rs1,500 to Rs2,000 during each visit, to get seamless connectivity using a local network in the US. These business visitors can now use RCom’s international data roaming.

Shukla added that by launching the international data roaming services, Reliance plans to leverage its leadership in the domestic wireless data segment to secure a first-mover advantage in the largely untapped international data roaming segment.

RCom sees a huge growth potential for this segment, and is planning an aggressive communication strategy targeting frequent business travellers to the US. The communication strategy would include direct mailers to software companies, and to members of frequent flyer programmes of airlines.

Airtel to venture into IPTV, DTH services
New Delhi
: Bharti Airtel is planning to tap the fast growing streams of IPTV and DTH to maintain its leadership in the domestic market through TV services.

Bharti Airtel is planning a roll out of its triple play services, IPTV across Delhi and the national capital region (NCR) within the next two months. It’s DTH services will reportedly be launched across India during the first quarter of next fiscal, i.e. April – June 2008.

According to Puneet Garg, Bharti Airtel general manager for IPTV, the company is awaiting regulatory approvals, which are anticipated soon, following which it will roll out the IPTV services within the next two months.

Once feedback is received from the NCR rollout, Airtel would launch its IPTV services across the country. The IPTV service would integrate TV with internet services, and voice over internet protocol (VoIP).

Public sector telecom companies MTNL and BSNL have already launched IPTV service across select cities including Delhi, Mumbai and Pune, amongst others. Reliance’s RCom is also reported to be planning its IPTV services rollout sometime soon.

According to N Arjun, head of DTH operations at Bharti Airtel, the company has received the license for providing DTH services, and plans to launch its services across India by the first quarter of next financial year.

Already operational players in the DTH space include Zee group''s DishTV, Tatas'' Tata Sky and Prasar Bharati''s DD Direct. They have a subscriber base of over 5 million customers. In the coming months, another two players, Sun TV’s Sun Direct and Reliance''s DTH “Bluemagic” are expected to hit the market.

Bharti would reportedly be investing around Rs150 crore in the initial phase, and is likely to see some stiff competition from existing players DishTV and Tata Sky. The duo have announced a combined investment of over Rs3,000 crore in order to maintain their current market leading positions.

Analysts estimate that the DTH subscriber base will increase to 15 million by 2012.

Bharti plans to set up state-of-the-art infrastructure near Gurgaon (Haryana) for uplinking and broadcast of its DTH service. The company has acquired transponders from recently launched 4CR Insat.

Zee’s DishTV has reportedly invested Rs800 crore over the last three years, and had recently announced an investment of another Rs1,100 crore over the next two years with a view to retaining its strong foothold in the competitive DTH space. It currently has 2.25 million subscribers, is looking at securing a user base of 16-17 million by 2015.

Tata Sky has one million subscribers, and plans to invest Rs2,000 crore over the medium term to give a boost to its value-added DTH services. For its part, Tata Sky is reported to be looking at a user base of eight million subscribers by 2012, which translates to over 50 per cent market share across the pay segment on current estimates.

BSNL looking at schools for its WiMax rollout
: Public sector telecom major Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd’s (BSNL) Wi-Max rollout scheduled for later in 2008 will have a large share of rural play, and will most likely incorporate a major educational component.

A successful bidder is likely to be mandated to wire-up some 40,000 odd primary and secondary schools across the country with wireless broadband.

According to sources at BSNL, an MoU exists to this effect between the HRD ministry and the DoT. Sources indicate that public sector telecom companies have already started a pilot project across eight cities, with 10-11 companies having shown interest in providing equipment for the project.

Last week, an announcement by BSNL chairman and managing director Kuldeep Goyal said that the company would soon call for expressions of interest (EoI) for deploying 2 million WiMax lines, in about a week’s time. The order size is estimated at around Rs2,000 crore, and is looking to cover around 25,000 villages in a year’s time. It would also be one of the biggest tender proposals in the world for WiMax equipment procurement and deployment across this wide a scale, and would include wiring up around 50,000 plus internet kiosks across India.

BSNL is likely to synergise its existing tower network for Wi-Max base stations. Limited WiMax networks have been rolled out by telecom companies like BSNL, Reliance, VSNL, Bharti Televentures and Aircel, along with internet service providers like Sify. Others like Tata Teleservices are testing out networks at various places.

Industry sources indicate that in the absence of clarity on the government’s broadband policy and on the spectrum for WiMax, BSNL will most probably be allowed to commence services on a 2.5 GHz spectrum, with a view to avoid delays on the project. On account of low broadband penetration, and the government having set a target of 20 million subscribers by 2010, WiMax is seen by some as the only viable option to achieve the planned numbers.

Mahindra-Renault Logan named among the best cars not sold in US
New Delhi
: Mahindra & Mahindra''s (M&M) entry level sedan Logan has been named amongst the 16 best cars not sold in America by BusinessWeek, a leading US magazine.

BusinessWeek’s ''The Best Cars Not Sold in America'' has Logan as the only Indian entry in a list dominated by 15 others being sold in the non-American markets.

The magazine says, “People may have “six degrees of separation,” according to the play of the same name, but the Mahindra-Renault Logan is further removed than that from the US automotive market.”

The BusinessWeek artice says that the Logan is originally a model from the Dacia’s stable, a Romanian automaker, which “has never sold cars here, despite some long-running attempts dating back to the mid-1980s”.

“In turn, Dacia belongs to Renault, which bailed out of the US market in 1986. India’s Mahindra & Mahindra would probably love to export cars to this country some day, but that day is probably several years away. At any rate, Mahindra started building the Logan in India this year. The car itself is not that interesting by the standards of US consumers – for starters, it’s got right-hand drive and the base engine is only 75 hp, but its heritage shows how the world is shrinking.”

The other 15 cars on the list are from Europe and Japan, such as Opel Zafira, Peugeot 308, Renault Scenic, Citroen C3 Pluriel, Alfa Romeo Spider, Ford Focus, Smart for Two and Mercedes-Benz A Class. The list also has a Chinese car Cherry QQ, the Japanese Nissan Pino, Australian Holden VE Ute, Citroen C-Crosser, SEAT Altea Freetrack and Alfa Romeo 8C.

Barclays market strategy to tap bottom of pyramid
: Barclays sees a huge potential in the mass segment. In fact, it plans to launch a banking product aimed at the “un-banked and under-banked” segment in the country.

Unlike other foreign banks in India, which started their journey in the market top-down by tapping high net-worth clients, Barclays, somewhat of a late entrant, is seeking its fortunes from the ground up, at the bottom of the pyramid.

According to Barclay’s head of retail banking, Suresh Gurumani, there is a huge latent demand in the segment. The un-banked and under-banked segmenet has a number of people, like taxi drivers and clerical staff, which Barclay’s is looking at launching to service through a banking product specially designed for this segment.

That bank, which commenced its India retail banking operations in May 2007, has launched unsecured SME loans, personal loans with tenures up to of seven years, and credit cards.

Highlighting the importance of low-cost transactions for the mass segment, Gurumani says the bank would try to launch products that could be termed as ''satchet'' banking.

Barclays has four operational branches in India, and a fifth in the offing at Junagadh in Gujarat. Over the coming two quarters, the bank plans to explore various low-cost retail models, such as business correspondents, Internet and mobile banking, and other technology-driven initiatives that will help it to drive down costs.

One of its innovations includes doorstep banking to high potential segments such as BPO employees.

Gurumani says that through Barclays has a downside of low brand visibility, as a late entrant it does not have legacy system problems. Of its total advances, 30 per cent have been towards small and medium enterprises (SMEs) as unsecured loans, another 30 per cent as long tenure (up to 7 years) personal loans that help in reducing the monthly equated monthly instalment (EMI) burden on customers, and the remaining 40 per cent accounting for commercial lending.

Barclays has so far committed £70 million for the Indian market, as part of its strategy to generate 50 per cent of its global revenues from outside its regional stronghold in the UK.

Barclays has a sales force of over 600 people, and is looking at alliances for banking intermediaries and microfinance institutions as partners to gain market penetration. The bank is also expanding its feet-on-street, and putting in place the technology infrastructure which will be the backbone of low-cost transactions. Barclays sees a trend in customers moving away from branch banking, and is keen to adopt new channels like doorstep banking, Internet and mobile banking, according to Gurumani.

ICICI Bank to set up shop in the Big Apple
New York
: ICICI Bank has received US regulatory asset to open a brand in New York. ICICI Bank is the second largest financial lender in India, with assets totalling over $91 billion.

The approval will see the Indian ICICI Brand set up shop in the Big Apple, primarily in the wholesale banking business, including trade finance, and factoring services to US-based subsidiaries of Indian companies, according to a press release by the US Federal Reserve on its website.

According to the US Fed’s release, the bank has policies and procedures complying with Indian laws and regulations and the Reserve Bank of India (RBIs) guidelines with respect to anti-money laundering efforts in the post 9-11 scenario. The Fed also says that ICICI bank has also taken additional steps on its own to combat money laundering and other illicit activities.

The Fed says ICICI bank’s application met the requirements of International Banking Act and RBI also supervises it. The regulators have found the ICICI Bank''s risk management standards in line with those established by the Basel Capital Accord, and its capital in excess of the minimum levels that would be required by the accord.

At present, ICICI bank has a representative office in New York, and operates non-banking activities, besides having centres in Canada, the UK, Bahrain, Russia and Sri Lanka.

Wipro all set to bring in Unza brands
: Wipro Consumer Care and Lighting (WCCL), reportedly has plans to bring some of the brands of its recent acquisition Unza to India.

The company is reportedly in the midst of consumer research to ascertain the categories of Unza’s brands to introduce in India.

A few months ago, WCCL had acquired the Singapore-based Unza Holdings Ltd, which is south East Asia’s largest independent manufacturer and marketer of personal care products, spanning operations in over 40 countries. The acquisition carried a price tag of Rs1,010 crore in July 2007. WCCL plans to treat the two businesses independently, rather than integrate them completely.

Wipro expects synergies from formulations based on various brands of Unza that it plans to introduce across different markets. India will see some of these formulations under the Santoor and Chandrika brands.

Hyundai sees the Rs1-lakh car as “not possible”; plans a $3000 car in five years
New Delhi
: Leading the bandwagon of sceptics, Hyundai has termed as ''impossible'' the Rs1 lakh car that the Tatas are so vigorously working on, citing safety aspects.

According to H S Lheem, CEO and managing director of Hyundai Motor India, the safety issues, norms and input costs from Hyundai’s standpoint make the Rs1 lakh car impossible.

For its part, Hyundai says it would like to bring to market an entry-level car with a competitive price tag of $3000, along the lines of the one on Renault drawing board. Hyundai, according to Lheem, is “well equipped” to enter the lo-cost segment which the Rs1 lakh car is aiming at.

He said that Hyundai has the technology for small car, in terms of an 800cc engine already in the market in Korea, and is confident of developing the technology for a 650cc engine.

Lheem, however, clarified that HMIL was in no rush to enter the segment, and does not have any immediate plans to enter the 800cc or the 650cc segments, and suggests a five year time line before Hyundai would enter the segment.

Hyundai foresees Rs120,000, the equivalent of $3,000 (US), as a justifiably feasible price or a company to pose as a credible competitor in the small car market. Currently, Hyundai''s lowest offering is the non-AC base model of the Santro, at an entry-level price of Rs2.7 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi).

Hyundai is not the only sceptic of Tata''s Rs1-lakh car, and is part of a camp comprised of rivals like Suzuki. However, the Tata’s endeavour has generated most than its fair share of interest, with French auto maker Renault announcing similar plans to develop a small car for the Indian market that would be priced around $3,000. The French car company is reportedly in talks with domestic two-wheeler giant Bajaj Auto for a possible partnership for the project.

Frito-Lay focusing on health-oriented products
: PepsiCo has a number of health-oriented rollouts scheduled in other food segments, to follow up its recent launch of oat-based cereals in the breakfast segment.

Taking the “health” route, the company has switched to healthier oils in the snacking segment, including wafer chips and wafers of Indian origin like ‘Kurkure’. More localised offerings customised to regional Indian tastes are reportedly in the offing.

The company is aiming at bringing to the breakfast table, the healthiest option through its oat-based cereal. According to the company, oatmeal contains the right quantities of healthy fats and soluble fibre, while being adequately filling. It is in the process of launching two more flavours in the product line.

Frito Lay has shifted to using rice bran oil in its core products in the snacking segment, given consumers’ preferences and lifestyle choices, which has prompted the company to make its core product range healthier.

The core products comprise Kurkure, Uncle Chipps and Cheetos, all of which are now made using rice bran oil, which in turn have helped reduce the levels of saturated fats in these products by 40 per cent. Frito Lay’s says its products have zero transfats.

Bikanervala to expand, open more stores
: Bikanervala, the Rs150-crore Indian snacks and family restaurant chain has embarked on an expansion plan, and is preparing to double the number of its outlets to 50 in India and abroad by 2010.

The New Delhi-based, century-old Bikanervala at present has 25 sweet shops-cum-restaurants mainly across North India, Kathmandu and Dubai.

According to Shyam Sunder Aggarwal, managing director, Bikanervala plans to open shops in New Zealand, Canada, the UK, and Kuwait over the next two years. New outlets in India will come up in Surat, Hyderabad and Meerut.

The traditional Indian fast-food company shifted base from Rajasthan to New Delhi in 1950, and has over 500 varieties of traditional and ethnic snacks, vegetarian Chinese fast food and continental food on its menu, with some of its offerings boasting a shelf life of even a year. A favourite with north Indians, the chain has an average of 40,000 to 45,000 per day across its outlets.

Each outlet of Bikanervala, according to the company, has a food technologist, a laboratory and a chemist to test ingredients and other raw materials used. Finished products too are tested before being marketed.

The company also has regular specialised training programmes on cooking hygienic food for its cooks and ‘halvais’ (sweets and snacks makers), which are union ministry of labour approved, and have been adopted by the ITIs and food-craft centres.

The company is looking to adopt a franchisee model to beef up its expansion plans, wherein its will assist small road-side fast-food kiosk owners to adopt the Bikanervala banner and provide standardised, hygienic, centrally-supplied wares that ensure quality and price.

Assocham: Print is the preferred medium for advertising, and not just the flavour of the season
New Delhi:
For real estate, education, employment, and automobiles, print advertising is the way to go.

According to Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham), these sectors top the list of those who opted for print medium for brand promotions between January and September 2007, according to Assocham''s analysis on `Emerging Advertisement Patterns of 10 Leading Sectors''.

The study also reveals that government at centre and states including UTs opted for print for promoting their populist schemes during the period, which clearly indicates that the print medium makes a larger impact for gaining returns as compared to other mode of advertising, opines Assocham President. Venugopal Dhoot. He sees this trend continuing for the print media, even beyond the festive seasons.

The Chamber''s analysis says that promoters mounted huge ad campaigns to apparently build and nurture their brand image, increase market penetration, and increase business volumes to attract the utmost public attention.

Dhoot pointed out that another reason for choosing print to disseminate the message was to nurture a better image in the eyes of suitable urban, semi-urban and rural consumers given the print medium''s larger impact.

According to Dhoot, pre-launch and launch activities of the real estate sector occupied nearly 30 per cent of total commercial ads, followed by employment & education at an estimated 18 per cent. The automobile sector marketed its brand image in print came in third at around 15 per cent, and FMCG, Consumer Durables and Banking & Finance were the other key sectors with their percentage ranging around 11-12 per cent.

The remaining ad-space was shared by tourism & aviation, telecom, and IT & ITES (BPO) sectors, along with the central and state governments.

FMCG occupied the largest share of over 42 per cent ad space on television, followed by 24 per cent of consumer durables, and 20 per cent of automobiles.

According to ASSOCHAM''s study, the key factors for choosing print media are:

  • The flourishing growth and massive investment plans of these sectors.
  • The impact of advertising in print is higher than TV, despite its high cost of advertising compared to its competitors. Print media in India reached over 225 million people in 2006, compared to 115 million homes mapped by TV.
  • Special feature supplements by leading newspapers especially cater to the interests of real estate, jobs, career & education, travel and auto sectors.
  • 2006 saw print media grow at 24 per cent, while TV grew at 21 per cent. Of a total of Rs19,000 crore in ad spends in 2006-07, the print media took 49 per cent, compared to TV''s share of 41 per cent.

According to the study, the following is the ad pattern for the Jan - September 2007 period.

Assocham analysis on advertisement patterns
during January-September 2007
Sl.No. Top 10 Areas for Newspapers
Top 10 Areas for Television
1. Real Estate Developers & Builders FMCG
2.. Education & Employment Consumer Durables
3.. Automobiles Automobiles
4. Consumer Durables Banking & Finance
5. FMCG Real Estate
6. Banking & Finance Telecom
7. Tourism & Aviation (tour operators, airlines & hotels) Building materials like iron ore, cement, steel
8. Telecom Education
9. IT, ITeS giants Entertainment
10. Central & State Govt.''s promotion & schemes Apparel

Assocham clarifies that the television industry has not lagged behind, and is growing rapidly. Presently reaching 115 million homes, the industry will reach over 210 million homes within the next 4-5 years according to its projections.

Residential accessibility to C&S (cable and satellite) has increased by 12 per cent from 61 million to 68 million this year, and Assocham foresees ad-spends on television growing at 49 per cent over the next 2-3 years.

According to the study, advertising revenue for cable television was $1.02 billion in 2005, which is forecast to grow to $2 billion by 2012.

According to Assocham estimates, over 2,200 newspapers and magazines have debuted in India. Foreign print media are also keen to enter India at large scale and even foreign magazines such as Men''s Health, Maxim, Marie Claire, Good Housekeeping are in India for licensing tie-ups where the Indian partner uses their titles for share of ad revenue.

Reliance launches a wellness outlet in Hyderabad
: Now encompassing the wellness format, Reliance Retail has opened first wellness store at Hyderabad, which is pitched as a ‘one-stop-shop’ for all health and wellness needs.

The company’s top brass of the Wellness vertical was present at the launch, which was kept low-key against the backdrop of recent protests that the company has seen against its retail initiatives across various Indian states.

The store features an attractive interior design, which will be replicated across the country over the next few months. Industry sources indicate that around 20 stores would come up in the next few weeks across top cities like Delhi, Jaipur and Mumbai.

The Wellness outlet has around 5,000 products in different categories, including general nutrition, sports nutrition, skin and personal care, books, music and pharmaceuticals. It also has an optical shop, with a qualified ophthalmologist to test and prescribe lenses. The store comprises a pharmacy that offers medicines and remedies in allopathic, ayurvedic and homeo-medical streams.

For customers on long-term medication, Reliance has come up with a medical compliance programme that will enable them to get reminders and alerts on the usage and replenishments of medication.

The Wellness format also has a customer loyalty programme, Reliance One, which comes with free health insurance cover. The company has partnered ICICI Lombard General Insurance Company to offers a group personal accident insurance policy.

Under the loyalty programme, a customer buying products worth Rs3,000 in the first three months would get a cashless hospitalisation benefit up to Rs25,000. Purchases of an additional Rs5,000 in the 4-6 months period will see the cover go up to Rs50,000.

Espirit keen to tap potential in kids wear, lingerie segments
: Fashion brand Esprit is set to capitalise on the kids wear and lingerie segments in India.

The company plans to address gaps in these segments. It has partnered with Madura Garments, and recently launched a kids wear line in select exclusive Esprit boutiques at Bangalore and Mumbai.

In the lingerie segment, the company plans to soon launch the Body wear line at Delhi, and plans to take these two lines to more of its stores, beginning with the metros and later followed by other upmarket cities across India.

According to Manjula Tiwari, Brand Head, Espirit plans to take the body wear and kids wear lines to at least 8 Esprit stores by March 2008, followed by 20 stores in the coming year.

According to Tiwari, around 90 per cent the kids wear market, estimated at Rs13,000 crore) is in the unorganised sector, with most organised players selling via private labels.

She added that kids clothing in India is “too dressy suited for certain occasions, and mostly made of synthetic materials”. Identifying the need for clothing from natural fabrics that has an international, smart, and casual look and quality, Esprit is ideally suited to address the segment’s needs.

Tiwari added that the casual kids wear segment has few branded players in India.

The Kids Collection has a classy and clean design, appealing to international tastes and a modern urban look.

The body wear category has elaborately styled camisoles, strapless bras, multi functional and corselet’s, along with lace-up inserts, beads, tiny decorative tags, multicoloured lace, flowers and embroidery add pretty highlights to bras, shorts, mini briefs, strings, camisoles and suspenders.

The lingerie market has a similar tale, with a lack of quality products and options in terms of sizes, shapes and fits dominating the storyline. Also absent is an international shopping experience, according to Tiwari. Esprit is seeking to address this gap while completing the women’s offerings in the country with lingerie and body wear.

The kids wear line caters to little individuals from in the 3-10 year age bracket, and is housed between the Rs400 to Rs1,200 price points. The body wear collection hovers between Rs600 and Rs2,500.

Globally, 7 per cent of Esprit’s $4 billion sales come from kid’s wear, while Body wear brings in about 4-5 per cent.

Presently, Esprit has 16 stores and 12 shop-in-shops in India, with expansion plans to see the count go up to 20 exclusive stores and 15 shop-in-shops by the end of 2007-08, and an overall count of 60 by 2008-09.

The present boutiques span 5,000 to 8,000 sq ft. Esprit is planning mega stores of 10,000-15,000 for the future, which will give the brand that much more floor space to bring in more products from its international range of accessories, footwear, baby wear and men’s body wear.

Himalaya Drug Company to expand retail presence
Chennai: Himalaya Drug Company plans to expand its retail presence over the next two years, focusing on "differentiated products that will marry science with cosmetics," according to Saket Gore, business head for Himalaya''s consumer products division.

The company plans to ramp up the count of its exclusive stores to 300 by the end of 2009, from the present 150. it also reports success in experimenting with 60-70 sq ft self-contained shop-in-shop model in large retail format departmental stores. It now plans to will set up more of them.

According to the company, the shop-in-shop model worked really well in the South, which has seen a proliferation of 30 such shops.

Himalaya markets 130 products across various divisions, including pharmaceuticals and consumer products. The consumer products division''s focus at the present time is on skin, hair and oral care segments. The company reportedly has several launches in the offing over the coming months, and is capitalising on the ''neem'' category by developing a complete range around it.

The ''neem'' category includes a face wash, face pack, neem supplement, with the company planning the launch of a soap and a face wash in a different delivery format sometime soon. The neem face wash is the largest independently selling product in the category with a 16 per cent market share, even though Garnier has a larger 18.5 per cent share of the market in the category, on account of a larger number of variants.

Himalaya''s consumer products division reports the skincare segment growing at 30-35 per cent annually, accounting for 50 per cent of the turnover. The hair care segment bring in 32 per cent of turnover. The company has launched a new TVC, which urges consumers make Himalaya their first option, not the last resort.

In a shift in its advertising strategy, the company has done away with the grandmother synonymous with its erstwhile campaigns, choosing to go in for a youth appeal now. The older campaign was hugely successful in establishing the brand, by communicating the relevance and efficacy of Ayurveda, and now the company wants to address the youth directly.

Hero Honda launches the 150cc Hunk Premium bikes
New Delhi
: Hero Honda clearly believes that premium bikes are where the money, and the action, is and has launched a new product in the category, the 150cc Hunk.

According to Anil Dua, vice president for sales and marketing, premium-segment bikes still account for a relatively small 14 per cent of the overall motorcycles market, but the company believes that there is potential for the market to expand in this segment.

The kick-start model of the Hunk has been priced at Rs55,000, and the self-start version at Rs57,000. This is Hero Honda’s fourth bike in the premium segment, following the CBZ Extreme, Karizma, and Achiever.

Dua says the company has doubled its market share and its volumes in the premium segment over the last one year.

According to Pawan Munjal, managing director, Hero Honda, the company will retain its focus on the 100cc segment, which comprises about two-third’s of the overall bike market. Hero Honda is looking at servicing the progression of the customers to upgrade to higher models through its focus on the premium segment.

Hero Honda has deferred plans to commence production at its new plant in Uttarakhand, which will now start production in April 2008 on account of the current slump in the motorcycle market in India. Production was originally scheduled to commence at the plant in August 2007.

Bombay Dyeing unveils Sabyasachi''s latest designs
New Delhi
: Bombay Dyeing has unveiled its latest collection, which were created on the drawing board by designer Sabyasachi Mukherjee.

The range has been called the Bombay Dyeing Sabyasachi Tao collection, and comprises a bed and bath line that draws inspiration from the simplicity of Taoism, and the mystique of orient.

Says Sabyasachi, "I have incorporated the principles of Tao in design and it was intended to weave simplicity into creating an innovative semblance of clarity and beauty, which would enhance the tranquillity and inner peace in one''s bedroom. The design philosophy is exotic and extravagant, in its use of various Taoist are motifs set in an eclectic colour palette exuding royalty and opulence.”

Additionally, the Bombay Dyeing Sabyasachi Art and the Bombay Dyeing Sabyasachi Kitsch collections were also launched.

The Bombay Dyeing Sabyasachi Tao Collection is priced at Rs4,999, the Bombay Dyeing Sabyasachi Art collection ranges from Rs2,999, and Bombay Dyeing Sabyasachi Kitsch collection starts at Rs2,499.

S K Gupta, executive director of Bombay Dyeing said that the company is “ecstatic” about the launch of the collection, which would service Indian consumers who are becoming more fashion conscious and are willing to spend more on the home décor.

Kodak launches spectacle lenses
: Prime Opthalmic Products (P) Ltd has announced the launch of Kodak’s branded spectacle lenses.

The lenses fall between the price points of Rs1,300 to Rs27,000, and come with a one-year warranty.

According to Vikram Gupta, managing director of Prime Opthalmic Products, the lenses will be marketed via Prime’s nine labs and 15 offices. The Kodak Lenses covers a wide range of advanced lens products under the Kodak Lens Vision series, and are available in over 10 different materials in every design.

Liberty Footwear comes out with 200 new designs
: The Rs 400-crore Liberty Group has launched 200 new designs under the Liberty brand. The company expects Liberty’s market share to go up from 30 to 50 per cent over the next year on the back of these new designs.

The new designs are a part of the Tip Top, Fortune and Windsor lines. Liberty has also launched a mass sports shoe brand named ‘Killer’, which retails at Rs750.

The Tip Top brand falls in the price points of Rs399 to Rs499.

Liberty is planning a shoe manufacturing unit at Bangalore, to add capacity to its 11 plants in North India which have a total output of 50,000 pairs per day. According to Raman Bansal, executive director of the Liberty Group, the company wants to increase this to 70,000 per day soon.

USV in marketing tie-up with Germany’s Sebapharma
: Pharma heavyweight USV has forayed into the skincare market with its Sebamed range of skincare products, which are manufactured by Germany’s Sebapharma GmbH & Co.

Sebapharma has a product presence in over 70 countries, and has partnered with USV for a marketing and distribution tie-up.

The Indian skincare market is estimated at Rs2,100-crore, and is reportedly growing at 16 per cent. According to Thomas Maurer, director at Sebapharma GmbH & Co., said the German company had India on its export agenda for some time.

USV will market and distribute 19 premium products of Sebamed across six ranges of cleansing, care, clear face, intimate wash, anti-ageing and baby. It is confident of doing a business of Rs15 crore over the next three years.

Sebapharma has a centralised production system in Germany, which according to Prashant Tewari, managing director of USV, rules out the possibility of a manufacturing alliance in the near future.

Medical Retail chain Medicine Shoppe to expand network outside Mumbai
: Medical retail chain Medicine Shoppe of Dublin-based Cardinal Health is now looking beyond Mumbai, and plans to commence operations in Pune and Hyderabad.

‘Sehat’ is a pharmacy-cum-clinic for low-income urban groups dwelling in slum areas in major cities. Targeted at the urban poor, the chain plans to start the ‘sehat’ model of retail pharmacy stores in Pune and Hyderabad.

The company plans to set up over 500 pharmacies-cum-clinics over a three to five year period, of which 100 could be in Mumbai, while the remaining would be in other cities. The company is working on involving health workers and self-help groups in creating awareness about its low-cost stores located in urban slums.

The company is counting on the word-of-mouth publicity as a critical success factor for its chain, given that the majority of its target audience is largely illiterate.

The pharmacy-cum-clinic will also have an MBBS-qualified doctor for consultation at a nominal charge of Rs20, a pathological laboratory for diagnostic tests, in addition to its pharmacy. The idea is to refund the consultation fee if the patient opts to buy the prescribed medicines at the ‘Sehat’ pharmacy.

According to the company, one of the biggest challenges in expanding this ‘new’ chain was to find a legally-acceptable location to set up the store, on account of ownership issues in most slums. Another challenge is finding medical professionals willing to work in these areas, of which the company is confident of overcoming.

United Spirits’ Bagpiper outpacing Diageo’s Johnnie Walker
: The boom in India’s whisky consumption has spurred United Spirits’ Bagpiper brand to almost outpace the iconic Johnnie Walker as the largest selling whisky in the world.

Impact International, a trade publication, reports that Bagpiper has managed to walk past Johnnie Walker during 2006, with sales touching 13.39 million cases. Diageo-owned Johnnie Walker’s sold 13.23 million cases during the same period.

Impact International also ranked Bagpiper as the 10th fastest growing brand in the world., Johnnie Walker’s sales have spiked to 15 million cases as of August 2007, though Bagpiper’s sales data was not available for the period. As of March 2007, Bagpiper’s sales grew to 13.7 million.

The marketing of Bagpiper has focused on three platforms, macho, mega and movies, and has revolved around celebrity endorsements.

The Bagpiper and Johnnie Walker brands, despite being whisky brands, are different from each other in several ways. Johnnie Walker is a Scotch brand, addressing SEC A and B segments, where as Bagpiper caters to SEC C and D segments.

Bagpiper’s largest consumption base is India, while Johnnie Walker’s is spread across several countries. The US accounts for only 11 per cent of the total sales of Johnnie Walker, despite being the largest market.

According to United Spirits, Bagpiper contributed 12 per cent of all brands of the company during 2006-07, and has a 35 per cent share of the regular whisky segment. Bagpiper’s sales grew 25 per cent during 2006-07.

As compared to 38 per cent in 2005-06, ostensibly on account of the expanding base of the brand. However, sales figures of Bagpiper do not include that of its brand’s extension, Bagpiper Gold, which addresses a different segment at a different price point.

Broadcasters blinks; backs down in surcharge standoff with advertisers
New Delhi
: The Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF) seems to have blinked in the current face-off with advertisers on the issue of levying the 25 per cent surcharge on TV ads.

One day after the Indian Society of Advertisers (ISA) threatened individual broadcasters with legal action over the surcharge issue, the IBF decided to roll back its advisory for the existing contracts.

In a statement, IBF said that it would call for an extraordinary general meeting soon “to evolve a consensus approach to address the issue of fair value for advertising inventory.” It further said that it had no desire to jeopardise or sabotage marketing plans of the advertising community, and has “decided unanimously to advise all members to roll back the application of the 25 per cent surcharge on pre-existing deals.”

The row between advertisers and broadcasters has started earlier in the month, when an advisory from IBF said that there would be a levy of a 25 per cent surcharge on all ads across TV channels starting 16 October. IBF had cited increased input costs as its reason for levying the surcharge.

Big advertisers including Hindustan Unilever Ltd (HUL), Procter & Gamble, Bharti Airtel, Reliance Communications, and Marico then withdrew their advertisements from television channels that imposed the 25 per cent surcharge basis the IBF advisory.

Since 16 October, only about 15-20 per cent of total ad flows were on air on TV.

Most broadcasters, including Star, Sony, Zee, NDTV, National Geographic and CNN-IBN, followed the IBF advisory. However, some channels including Aaj Tak, ESPN, Discovery along with some regional players continued the existing contracts with advertisers.

The annual advertising market is estimated at Rs16,000 crore, of which television ads have a Rs6,000 crore slice, though print media is said to have the largest share 50 percent share of Rs8,000 crore.

IBF reportedly says that channels and networks of every size have communicated frustrations with the unfairly low pricing imposed on their advertising inventory by the “indifferent attitude of and monopolistic consolidation tendencies” of Advertising Agencies Association of India’s (AAAI) member agencies.

Adding further, it says that while this surcharge move has been stridently criticised by some vested interests, there is little evidence of a desire for constructive dialogue with IBF.

According to IBF, it has aired the issue of Fair Value for Television Advertising right into the broad public domain, and is “greatly heartened as an important message has thereby gone out.”

Clearly, the fight is far from over, with more to come. For now, however, the broadcasters and advertisers have both returned to their corners, to re-strategise, and wait the bell to commence round two of the action.

Philips to add to its product range; Chalks out aggressive advertising budget
: Philips Electronics India Ltd has chalked out an aggressive growth plan for itself, by launching new products like LCD televisions, audio players and other products to beef up its product range and market presence.

The Indian subsidiary of the Dutch electronics giant will invest Rs33 crore on advertising over the next three months towards this end.

Philips launched its new Ambilight Flat TV series a couple of days ago, and will reportedly mark its presence in the peripherals and accessories segments by year-end.

S Nagarajan, vice-president for the consumer electronics division at Philips Electronics India said, “From 0.5 per cent of our turnover in 2006, peripherals and accessories will constitute 15 per cent by 2010. There is a huge surge in demand for peripherals and accessories such as lens cleanser, an entire range of head phones and noise cancellation devices as well as cable accessories. We will slowly roll out all these products by the year-end.”

The LCD TV market in the country is expected to hit one million sales a year by next year, and is largely expected to benefit from the global boom the segment is witnessing on account of the advent of the Olympics in China in 2008. The market for LCD TVs is reportedly growing at over 300 per cent annually, making it one of the top selling products.

Given this boom in the segment, Philips India plans to commence manufacturing LCD televisions through a third party, Dixons, at a plant in Dehradun. The plant already makes DVD players and other products for Philips, and will additionally assemble around 1,50,000 LCD TV units annually, which will increase in line with the market growth.

Philips Ambilight flat TV uses light-emitting diodes (LEDs) rather than Compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) to reduce energy consumption, has seen global sales of around two million pieces since it was first launched in 2004.

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