Book retailing in India is majorly dominated by unorganised brands. However the entry of few big organised players is giving a great boost to this industry. Himanshu Chakravarty, COO, Landmark Limited shares the growth of his company and also highlights the factors leading the brand to opt for franchise route.
Pallavi Majha (PM): Brief us about the launch, growth and success of Landmark Books and stores?
Himanshu Chakravarty (HC): Landmark commenced its operations in 1987 with its first store in Chennai with a floor space of 5,500 sq. ft. Landmark currently has 31 stores, out of which there are 17 large stores, ranging in size from 12,000 sq. ft. to 45,000 sq. ft. Landmark has four stores in Chennai, two in Bangalore, two in Hyderabad, three in Mumbai and one each in Delhi, Gurgaon, Lucknow, Pune, Ahmedabad and Vadodara.
In addition Landmark has eight hotel book stores in leading hotels, two IT Park stores, three airport stores at the Hyderabad Airport and one airport store at the domestic terminal 1B at the Mumbai Airport.
From being the first in the country to introduce large format retailing in books, Landmark is now the largest book and music retail chain in India and is arguably the only long-tail range based book and music retailer in India.
PM: What according to you is the USP of the brand?
HC: The USP of the brand is the widest range in books, music, movies, gaming and toys, warm international shopping ambience and friendly service at all times
PM: What inspired the brand to take up franchise route for expansion?HC: Tier –II cities have been untapped for Landmark. The expansion into these markets needs additional human resources especially in knowledge categories like books, music and movies. Landmark’s internal resources are largely occupied with expansion plans in metros. Franchise route will enable expansion into tier-II cities. Tier-2 cities have huge population of educated English speaking middle class who love books, music and movies and they would love to have a format like landmark to cater to their entertainment needs.
PM: What is the eligibility criterion for the selection of the franchisees for Landmark Books and stores in India?
HC: The aspiring franchisee should have an access to the required space in relevant town, should have availability of capital to put up a landmark store, some exposure to books and music or retailing in general is desirable and should have a good name in the local market.
PM: What is the total number of Landmark franchisees expected in the coming years?
HC: While it is too early to discuss specific numbers, the endeavor will be to expand at a reasonable pace.
PM: How much investment is required from the franchisee at the initial stage and later on?
HC: The investment can range from 100 lakh to 200 lakh depending on various factors.
PM: What is your opinion regarding the growth and scope of franchising in Books industry?
HC: There are very few national players with well known brand names and in-depth knowledge of books, music and movies. Hence, the opportunity is restricted to such brands. The potential for growth and scope of franchising in a knowledge based category like books is immense.
PM: What kind of support and training is provided to the franchisees for starting a franchise business?
HC: Full support will be provided to the franchisee in the initial period and training / category inputs will be provided on an ongoing basis.