The value retail outlets offering quality textile products at affordable prices is an initiative of H&A (originally called Alok Homes & Apparels Ltd). In an interview, Reshabh Raizada, President, Alok H&A Ltd shares the future plans of his company.
Ramanjit Kaur (RK): Could you please shed some light on the origin, growth and success of Alok H&A Ltd?
Reshabh Raizada (RR): H&A is an honest and a modest effort by Alok H&A Ltd to reach out to the needs of the customers. H&A was born out of wits and vision of the promoters of Alok Industries Ltd who believed in the concept of ‘Value for Money’.
Alok Retail India Ltd was incorporated in 2007 for the domestic retail business under the 'H&A' banner. The brand grew from mere eight stores in 2006 to 215 stores in March 2010. Today, we are present in all major malls and high street markets. Along with this, we are also doing our business through the ‘shop in shop concept’. H&A has received appreciation and loyal customer base with its quality product range and affordable price package. We started H&A by selling apparels, bed and bath linen, but now we have added accessories and life style products (such as sunglasses, perfumes, ladies handbags, and ladies shoes) to our kitty.
RK: What inspired you to take the franchise route to expand the brand presence in India?
RR: India with its rich cultural heritage inspired us to take up franchising. We believe our franchisees are aware of the customer’s need, which in turn help us to serve them better. It is not easy for a ‘Value Model’ like ours to create instant presence and awareness in each part of the country. Also with high rentals and huge investment involved, it would have been difficult for us to create such a reach. Franchise model is not just a mode to expand the business but also an economical investment, which builds up trust and belief between the company and its franchisees.
RK: What is the USP of Alok H&A Ltd?
RR: The best part of H&A is that we do not have direct competitors. We are dealing in a segment where most of the Indian consumers prefer spending. Our team of designers is constantly working on developing new styles and designs as per the current market scenario. We offer the best quality products at an affordable price. We are the first of its kind of stores in the country with a compact format of stores offering various categories under one roof.
RK: What are the eligibility criteria for selecting the franchisees of your company?
RR: There is no hard and fast rule for partnering with H&A. We offer a simple business solution, which can be easily managed by the aspiring entrepreneur. The criteria for selecting franchisees are as follows:
Further, we would prefer entrepreneurs who would know his market well and the consumer’s mindset in his concern area of operations.
RK: How many franchised stores do you presently have? What are your future target locations to expand?
RR: We currently have 215 operational stores in the country, out of which 183 are owned and operated by our business partners (franchisees) and rest are company owned stores. We have extended our reach to more than 80 cities, in 21 states. Now we have plans to reach out to remote locations. We are shortly coming up in the following states like Nagaland, Bihar, and Chattisgarh.
RK: What kind of training and support does a franchisee get after partnering with your company?
RR: H&A follows a proper process once the franchisee is on board. A proper business training manual is shared with the business partners. Training in terms of sales management, IT, and store operational techniques are given to the business partners and store staffs. We also share brand manual with our business partners to help them understand the right usage of brand logos and brand name in various media. In order to have a smooth flow of business, we ensure that our area retail officer visits at least twice or thrice in a week.
RK: What are the future plans of the company in terms of expansion through franchising?
RR: We are aiming to take the count of our outlets to 350+ stores by December 2010. H&A will surely reach the target of 500 + stores by March 2011. Today, the brand is present in the major malls in the country as well as important locations on the high streets. The company is eyeing to set-up around 1,000 stores in the next five years for which tier II and III cities will be given priority. Besides this, the new module on our agenda will be to create H&A as a ‘Destination Shopping Experience’ in the Tier II, III, and IV cities and towns. Further, we are planning to expand our selves to 5000 sq. ft store size from the regular compact format of 800 to 1000 sq. ft.