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Oct, 03 2011

FINDING FEET IN FRANCHISING

With an aim to achieve leadership in new markets, Reliance Footprint's Chief Executive Gopalakrishnan Sankar tells Amanpreet Kaur about his plans to ramp up brand's network by way of franchising.

With an aim to achieve leadership in new markets, Reliance Footprint's Chief Executive Gopalakrishnan Sankar tells Amanpreet Kaur about his plans to ramp up brand's network by way of franchising.

Tell our readers in brief about Reliance Footprint.

Reliance Footprint is the specialty footwear retailing arm of Reliance Retail. Presently, we have 56 stores operating across 15 states and 39 cities. Our average store size is 5,000 sq.ft, making us one of the largest destination stores for footwear and accessories in the country.

The USP of the store is that it offers choice to customers like no other footwear store does. Customers can choose from 50 brands for the entire family across different price range.

Is franchising your next strategy for expansion?

We are expanding aggressively our network of stores across the country. Franchising is one of the routes that we are planning to adopt. It will, by no means, be the only option for expansion. We feel that through the franchising route, we will able to tap new markets, cities and also the markets where new supply of retail space is an issue.

How much return (RoI) one can expect after associating with your brand?

The investment will depend on the size of the store and level of stock. Approximately it will be in the range of Rs 60 70 lakh in capital expenditure and around Rs 60 lakh as bank guarantee/cash deposit for stocks. He should be having store-level earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBIDTA) positive from one year of operations and can have a RoI of around 45 per cent. This computation is based on rough estimate and assuming that he has his own space and collaterals to offer for bank guarantee.

What type of training and support do you offer?

We have a full-fledged training department that imparts product training, soft skills training and systems related training to the staff. We have a refresher training programme every six months for staff. Besides, we help in the recruitment process to select the right candidates with right attitude and skills.

How do you market your brand?

We have year-round marketing programmes for each store to promote the store in local catchment. At company level, we do frequent press advertisements in most cities where we have stores to build brand recall value. We believe in providing outstanding services to our customers for them to become our loyal customers and spread the word of mouth.

When are you planning to open your company's first franchise outlet?

We are in the final stages of closing our first franchise deal. If all goes well, we will be opening this outlet in December.

How many franchise stores are you planning to open in this financial year?

We are planning to open around five stores; we have requirement in all cities around top 75 cities of India, including metros, state capitals and tier-I and II cities.

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