Howards Storage World, an Australia-based speciality retailer entered India via the Master Franchise route with Skanda Retail Pvt. Ltd. In an interview Balachandra Yadalam, MD, Skanda Retail Private Ltd, Master Franchisee of HSW talks about the company’s expansion plans via the franchise route.
Abha Garyali (AG): When did Skanda Retail Private Ltd, become the Master Franchisee for Howards Storage World (HSW)? What motivated you to partner with the company, which was based out of India?
Balachandra Yadalam (BY): We became Indian Master Franchisee for Howards Storage World (HSW) in December 2009. Our store catalog consists of over 3500 high quality and functional products for organising home and office. These products are imported from various countries and many of these products are not available in any other store in the country. HSW is a retail format, one of its kind, in the country. It is now present in ten countries across the globe. These all factors inspired us to become the master franchisee of the brand.
AG: What inspired you to further expand the brand ‘HSW’ via the franchise route in India?
BY: Our Business plan is to set up 50 stores in the next five years. We have a very profitable revenue model. Therefore, we believe in the franchise model to achieve this aggressive plan.
AG: Do you face any competition from other organised players in the segment? What strategies have you employed for handling competition?
BY: We do not face any challenges from other players as our retail format is very attractive for the retailer. Moreover, due to its uniqueness it will be undoubtedly preferred by mall leasers to be part of the development. Due to this we can be selective in our expansion and limit it to the urban cities. We are confident of our success in achieving the numbers.
AG: What is the USP of HSW?
BY: The USP of HSW is its large variety in catalog for organising products for home as well as offices.
AG: How many franchised outlets do you presently have in India? What are your future expansion plans?
BY: It has been only five months since we opened our first store. We have signed up for the second store at Pheonix Market City, in Bengaluru and third at Pune. We have aggressive expansion plans of opening 50 stores in five years in India.
AG: Kindly share the training and support module you have been provided by the International company ‘HSW’? How does Skanda Retail Private Ltd further support and train their franchisees?
BY: Initially our selected franchisees are required to attend an intensive training programme at Howards Storage World Group Office at Sydney. They will further get orientation at our store and office in Bengaluru.
AG: What are the challenges that can be faced by franchisees of your company?
BY: A major challenge may be posed from the brand being new in the country and the concept being unheard by many. This challenge does not pose a big problem as the brand will speak for itself in the coming time.