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Sep, 01 2008

Rise to corporate status

Having evolved from being a family owned and managed retailer to a professionally managed corporate, Mehrasons Jewellers has blended modern management principles and methodologies with traditional retail practices creating unmatched retail processes and s

Having evolved from being a family owned and managed retailer to a professionally managed corporate, Mehrasons Jewellers has blended modern management principles and methodologies with traditional retail practices creating unmatched retail processes and systems. In a tête-à-tête with TFW, Mehra discusses the company`s aggressive expansion ambitions

The Franchising World (TFW): Tell us in brief about your company. What is the USP of the newly launched format `Mehrasons Just Diamonds`?

Ajay Mehra (AJ): The Mehra family has been in the business of jewellery retailing for over five decades and understands the intricacies of the Indian retail market. Our philosophy `business is relationships` helps us in creating a long lasting relationship with our associates. Our USP of being a pure retail player with multi vendor sourcing strategy and an evolved trade marketing programme makes us distinct. Our pricing strategy would be a key differentiator. We are not going to reinvent the wheel but we will offer the customers what they want- transparency in prices rather than a fixed MRP.

`Mehrasons Just Diamonds` is a super specialty retail format which will be retailing only diamonds and diamond jewellery, offering to its aspiring value conscious customers high quality products at the most competitive prices in a comfortable ambience.

TFW: What inspired your company to opt for the franchising model? How do you foresee the future of franchising in the jewellery industry?

AM: The Jewellery business is a lucrative one which offers an investor high returns with relatively low risk. The risk - return tradeoff is more favourable in the jewellery business in comparison to other business categories therefore this makes jewellery retail a great franchising business. We also feel that in order to create a wider brand presence the best possible route for expansion is franchising.

The Indian diamond jewellery retail market is estimated to be Rs 10,000 crore with an annual growth rate of 24 per cent per year, with projections of faster growth. The opportunity in jewellery retail offers high returns and safe investment. It is one business where even the unsold stock yields you returns.

TFW: How do you select your franchisees? What kind of training and support do you impart to them?

AM: We select the individuals on the basis of their orientation, dedication and ability to invest the pre-requisite resources.

We offer advertising and marketing support, assistance in merchandise selection and analysis, store location selection/ lease negotiations, store design layout planning as well as fit outs assistance, operations manual assistance in raising funds for franchisee through channel finance and providing training to the franchisee and staff.

TFW: What are your expansion plans?

AM: At present, we have four company owned stores. For our expansion, we would have a healthy mix of `owned` and `franchisee` stores. We have identified 72 cities across India like Chandigarh, Lucknow, Ludhiana, Bangalore, Pune, Calcutta and Jamshedpur. We are planning a national expansion with initial focus on the North and the West because of their market size and potential for market growth.

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