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Usha International plans to strengthen regional retail partnerships by 3 times: Kapil Kohli

Usha International has a strong retail network and has also introduced Usha Joy stores which follow franchise model.

By Ekta Sharma Feature Writer

The Siddharth Shriram group was founded by the legendary Lala Shriram in 1889. The group’s businesses extended to textiles, chemicals, sugar, automobiles, engines, nylon tyre cord, automotive components, edible oil, heavy chemicals (fertilizers), engineering foundries, sewing machines, fans and home appliances. Usha International Ltd (the Company), a constituent of the Siddharth Shriram group, was formed in 1934 and started doing business under the brand name, USHA. Over the decades, this brand has become a household name in India, while the Company has diversified into the business of new age home appliances, sewing machines, fans, power products, water cooler, water dispensers, modern farm equipments and auto components. We spoke to Kapil Kohli, Vice-President and Retail Head, Usha International about plans of Usha International and also how they are expanding Usha Joy Stores via franchisees.

Tell us about presence of Usha International
Usha international is present nationally through a strong network of 1200 stores (approx). These include company-owned 60 showrooms, Usha Joy stores and multi-brand outlets including modern and regional retail. Along with on-ground footprint, we are laying a strong emphasis on e-tailing/ e-commerce platforms too.

Your views on franchising and which all business units focus on Franchise model in Usha Group?
Usha International has a strong retail network and has also introduced Usha Joy stores which follow franchise model. These stores market Usha brand products including Fans, Sewing Machine, small appliances, home comfort products etc. In the future also, we would be going strong with Usha Joy stores and aim to open 50 stores by 2017-18 across India where franchise will do retailing of products as per company policies.

What are your expansion plans for coming few years?
Usha International is aggressively expanding its distribution network with plans to strengthen regional retail partnerships by three times. Along with this, the company has already tied up with e-tailing majors including Amazon, Flipkart, Snapdeal, PayTM, Pepperfry and is further in conversation with infibeam, tata click, home shop 18 and Myntra. We plan to drive online engagement by introducing innovative products and good experience.

Online sales push, customer purchase behaviour and cities that contributed the most to sales?
We can easily account the key sales push coming from top states and metros including Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, owing to the strong smartphones penetration and fast information flow. In these markets, people are well aware of trends and want to experience new things. We are noticing that the buying is increasingly picking up on e-commerce platforms along with brick and mortar stores. However, in tier II towns, still, the online penetration and access are limited, thereby requiring strong on-ground network footprint.

Statement on the split between online & offline sales and what Usha aims to hit.
As we started e-tailing last year, we plan to increase the existing contribution by 10% by next year.

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