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Nov, 20 2009

The power of reuse

The slowdown failed to slow down the popularity of Cartridge World. In conversation with TFW, Cartridge World South Asia CEO Naveen Rakhecha talks about taking the challenges head-on and how to beat the retail blues.

The slowdown failed to slow down the popularity of Cartridge World. In conversation with TFW, Cartridge World South Asia CEO Naveen Rakhecha talks about taking the challenges head-on and how to beat the retail blues.

Tell us about Cartridge World’s ‘Joy of Giving’ activity.

The ‘Joy of Giving Week’ was a national movement aimed at engaging every Indian in giving back to the society. Our aim was to involve maximum people in this programme through our chain of stores and promote the ‘Power of Re-use’. Cartridge World has always been active on the social front and for this one, we partnered with NGO Goonj, which works for the cause of deprived people. During this week, all Cartridge World stores doubled up as collection centres, where people gave donations in the form of used or new clothes, books, uniforms, etc.

What impact the slowdown had on your retail expansion strategy?

Our franchised stores have done very well even during the slowdown. More and more customers are opting for our services. Even the staunchest ‘OEM only user’ and many corporates/institutions signed up with us as cost-cutting became imperative.

On the franchising front, as the sentiments start settling down, people are beginning to realise that fortunes will not be made at the stock or realty market and they need to get down to conducting fundamentally strong businesses. Many senior managers are becoming entrepreneurs. With an established brand, a proper system in place and a sound business concept at our disposal, we are upbeat and all set to make the best of this economic meltdown situation.

How many corporate and franchise-owned stores do you have?

Currently, Cartridge World has 90 signed-up franchisees and over 70 operational retail stores and seven shop-in-shops located in the CROMA chain of retail stores. We will continue exploring similar options with other large format retailers/hypermarkets. Our presence is extended to over 30 cities in India.

What are your future plans?

In terms of business expansion, we are aiming to establish over 250 stores across the Indian sub-continent by 2011. We are also exploring the expansion opportunities in Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Maldives.

Since real estate is critical to the success of a retail store, what kind of retail locations do you prefer? Do you help your franchisees in negotiating the lease and rentals for the location?

Every Cartridge World store is a retail space attached to a micro-manufacturing unit. A ground floor road facing visible retail space is ideal. There are two formats of Cartridge World Store. Format I requires 350 to 400 sq. ft of retail space and format II requires 200 to 250 sq. ft of retail space. Cartridge World team guides its franchisees in searching for suitable locations, approving them and guiding in the store development work.

What kind of franchise audits do you conduct for quality check?

We conduct technical audits for the operations area of the store to ensure that superior quality is delivered by the stores, the staff undergoes proper training sessions and that mystery customer programme is also in place to identify gaps, if any, in customer service.

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