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Tata Group’s Croma eyes expansion of physical presence, to open 75 stores in FY22

Tata Group’s consumer electronics chain Croma is eyeing an expansion of its physical presence in India. The brand, which has 193 stores currently, is looking to add 75 stores in FY22, said Ritesh Ghosal, CMO, Croma.

Ghosal said that, with the unlock phase, phasing has begun across the country with restrictions easing amidst a drop in COVID-19 cases. As of June 16, Croma had 154 stores out of 193 stores that were open at least a few days in a week.

He added that another 100 stores signed up that will open up over the course of the next two years.

Croma is a brand of Infiniti Retail, which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Tata Sons, holding company of the Tata Group. It sells an array of electronic goods including smartphones, computer accessories, laptops, home appliances, kitchen appliances and personal grooming products at its stores.

“The standard operating procedure (SOPs) are similar to last year in the unlock phase. However, now we are focussed on getting our store staff getting vaccinated at an aggressive pace,” he added.

In FY19, their revenue stood at Rs 4,651 crore and it rose by 11 percent to Rs 5,173 crore in FY20, as per ROC filings. Ghosal said that the revenue grew by 4 percent YoY in FY21.

Staggered timings
Croma stores are also taking bookings so that customers don’t walk into crowded areas. Ghosal added that the store schedule and timings are displayed on the website.

“The timing differs based on the region. The number of hours the store stays open is changing. In some cities, the store opens earlier and shuts earlier,” he said.

Explaining further, Ghosal said that this is a challenge because staff don’t stay near the store and coming in earlier is difficult.

Pent-up demand picking up
While the pandemic has played a dampener across sectors, Ghosal said that modern retail has seen a benefit.

“Work-from-home continues. We continued to get demand for smartphones, laptops. While there is a reluctance in some places to allow installation staff to enter homes, the plug-and-play product categories are popular,” he said.

Though customers are wary of going back to physical stores, Ghosal said that there is a preference to shop in modern retail formats and large stores. At present, 12 percent of the revenue for Croma comes from the online channel.

The in-house Croma brand constitutes 6 percent of the revenue. Ghosal said that this is primarily because the brand doesn’t sell its in-house products in categories like smartphones and laptops. Even in televisions, the Croma branded TVs operate at an entry level.

“We are seeing pent-up demand picking up. Products like dishwashers, vacuum cleaners, induction cookers and toasters that relate to the cleaning and cooking category are popular,” he added.

However, Ghosal said that supply-side constraints have cropped up in the market.

As reported by Moneycontrol earlier, commodity price rise and shortage of key components like semiconductors have led to price hikes in the appliances and electronics category.

“Components are running out. Chipsets seem to be running into shortages. Commodity prices have shot up so appliances prices are going up. This may dampen demand. But if this situation is resolved, then revenue growth will continue,” he added.

Appliance makers had already increased prices in February due to shortage of key components and rise in metal prices globally. Moneycontrol

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