02 August 2011

Tata Croma soon to open online store

Tata Group firm Infiniti Retail that runs consumer durables and electronics chain of stores under 'Croma' brand said it will soon start selling products online to tap Net savvy consumers.

Besides the new initiative, the company is also expanding presence of Croma stores with plans to open around 10 new outlets by the end of this fiscal and also strengthen after sales service infrastructure.

"Online sales are catching up in a big way in India. We will soon launch a new portal with some unique features to cater to consumers making purchases online," Infiniti Retail Managing Director and CEO Ajit Joshi told PTI.

He said the company is considering options like cash-on-delivery to make it easier for consumers to shop online and make it accessible to those who do not have or use credit and debit cards.

Joshi, however, did not give a timeline or sales targets from the new initiative.

Another big retail player, the Future Group that operates a dedicated portal Futurebazaar.com for online sales has already said that it is targeting at least 10 per cent of the company's total retail sales from digital medium.

According to a latest report by industry body Assocham, online retail segment in India is likely to be worth Rs 7,000 crore by 2015 due to easy availability of broadband services and increasing Internet penetration, compared to Rs 2,000 crore at present. It is growing at an annual rate of 35 per cent.

Apart from the online initiative, Joshi said Infiniti Retail is also expanding its store network across India.

"We plan to open another 10 stores in this fiscal to take the total store count to 75," he said, adding all the stores and company operated.

It is also in the process of setting up a dedicated after sales service facility for consumers, who buy Croma branded private label products.

"So far, we have been dependent on our partners for service, but going ahead we have plans to set up our own service centres in major cities like Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore and begin by servicing Croma branded products," Joshi said.

The company has recently received Rs 200 crore from its holding company Tata Sons to fund network expansion and other initiatives.

In the last fiscal, Infiniti Retail's total turnover stood at Rs 1,549 crore, Joshi said.

Asked about the company's profitability he said : "We are profitable at store level." He, however, did not comment on the break-even expectation of the company.