With the objective to consolidate its position and exploit its reach across India, NEXT Retail is chalking drafting its expansion plans wisely. In an interview, KS Raman, Director, NEXT Retail shares the future plans of the company.
Ramanjit Kaur (RK): Shed some light on the origin of NEXT Retail India Ltd?
KS Raman (KSR): Next Retail India Ltd was incorporated in 2003 with five showrooms in Hyderabad. Now we operate over 603 outlets across the nation spanning across the metros, tier II and tier III towns under the brand name ‘NEXT’. NEXT Retail India Ltd has tied up with all the leading brands of national and international repute which are showcased under one roof, combining the best in quality, service, convenience and price.
NEXT is a multi-brand and multi-product showroom and stocks an entire range of consumer durables from AC, LCD and plasma TVs, home theater systems, washing machines, refrigerators, microwaves to small home appliances. NEXT retails some of the most popular brands such as LG, Samsung, Sony, Electrolux, Kelvinator, Whirlpool, Onida, Philips, Kenstar, Videocon, Sansui, including its own brand. NEXT also stocks Xbox of Microsoft, computers and laptops by Acer, HCL, Lenovo and HP.
RK: How do you think the franchise model of NEXT Retail is different from other players in the industry? Why would an entrepreneur opt for the franchise of NEXT Retail?
KSR: We are different because we have our own group brands that have more than seven to eight brands across various product categories. So, this gives us a big advantage and hence the franchise model of NEXT Retail is different from other players in the industry.
RK: What were the various challenges that the company has faced while establishing its franchise networks across the nation, if any. And how did the company get over these challenges.
KSR: Getting the franchise model connected into the common Information Technology (IT) system was a big challenge for us. Also, making the franchisees to send their sales people for training, convincing them about adding product categories to increase their profitability and working out better Returns on Investment (ROI) for their investment, were some of the other challenges that we faced. And we managed to get over them with a lot of effort.
RK: What are the eligibility criteria for selecting the franchisees for your company?
KSR: Aspiring entrepreneur having an area of 1,250 sq. ft to 3,500 sq. ft, located in a high street area or a prominent mall, can become the franchisee of NEXT Retail. Also, an investment of about Rs 30 lakh is needed.
RK: What are the various franchise formats through which NEXT Retail is operating in India?
KSR: We have large and medium formats, depending on the geographical location and also the population of the town where it is located.
RK: What kind of training and support a franchise will get when it partners with NEXT Retail?
KSR: The training given to the franchisees includes soft skills in upgrading sales, training in product features and also all round grooming of the sales staff.
RK: How many total stores does the company presently have and how many of these are franchised.
KSR: The company presently has 603 outlets across the nation, and of these 418 outlets are franchised. Our ultimate aim is that we should have a franchise store in each and every district of the states where we are present, and then to link them to talukas in these states. We are now in the process of taking up a model state for this plan, which we will implement in the next four months, and then replicate it.
RK: What are your future plans in terms of expanding the presence of NEXT Retail across India?
KSR: Our future plans are to expand both the franchise and the company owned outlets. In the company owned stores, we will go in for the large format stores, which are better designed to give a lifestyle experience to the consumers.