Retail Nov, 10 2009

Capitalising on carriers

By Abha Garyali
Capitalising on carriers

Delivering style with strength, Samsonite has made its mark in the luggage industry. N.P Singh, Director (Retail projects), Samsonite Group briefs us with the franchising aspect of the brand…

Abha Garyali (AG): Tell us something about the origin, growth and success of ‘Samsonite’?

NP Singh (NPS): Samsonite brand was born in 1910 when founder Jesse Shwayder began producing luggage for a small and affluent group who appreciated the company's unique, durable and finely crafted products. As travel evolved into a mainstream activity, Samsonite's products evolved with it, encompassing a diverse range of items for a host of travel needs. Today the brand is sold in over 150 countries across the globe. The Indian luggage industry has moved from unorganised to organised with our presence all over India through EBOs and shop-in-shops in the departmental stores. This has made buying of a quality luggage very convenient for the Indian consumers.

AG: When did Samsonite initiate franchising in India?

NPS: Samsonite started franchising in India in 2001.Presently Samsonite operates more than 160 franchises successfully in 63 cities and towns across the country.

AG: Have you made any modifications in your brand to suit the Indian consumer’s preference?

NPS: We have not made any modifications in our offerings. We leave it to our customers to connect themselves suitably with an appropriate model, size and colour according to their tastes.

AG: How many franchisees do you have and what are your expansion plans?

NPS: At the moment we have more than160 franchisees operational across the country but we intend to open another 25 to 30 doors through franchisees in various tier II and tier III towns such as Madurai, Salem, Vijaywada, Nellore etc.

AG: What all training and support do you provide to the franchisees?

NPS:The training and support provided are:

  • We help them to design their store with the help of in-house designing department.
  • We also train the staff of the franchisee with regular updated trainings on visual merchandising.
  • Provide training to franchisee twice in a year to help them to manage the store as per global guidelines.
  • Support in store fit out guideline, complete drawings along with shop signage and visuals.

AG: Do you help your franchisees in negotiating the lease and rentals for the location?

NPS: We do help our franchisees to select a retail location in case of further expansions. While we prefer to take up the available location duly approved by us to set up a franchisee-run brand store

AG: How much investment is required by an aspiring franchisee in terms of investment?

NPS: Our franchisee model needs limited investment. Fit out investment is about Rs seven lakh to eight lakh for a carpet space of 700 sq. ft. The stock investment is Rs 12 lakh to 14 lakh. We do not charge any franchise fee.

AG: What is the break even period for a ‘Samsonite’ franchise?

NPS: A franchisee can expect break even on investment in less than three years.

AG: What is the scope of franchising in India’s luggage industry?

NPS: Franchising has a good scope in luggage industry as organised retail in luggage industry still has a lot to be explored.

Related: Boosting agricultural productivity via franchising

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