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    Univercell sticks to its expansion plan despite slowdown

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    Chennai-based large-format mobile retail chain will pursue its expansion plans aggressively. Talking to IndiaRetailing, , founder, UniverCell said, “The ongoing economic slowdown has not affected the company’s plans at all. In fact, we feel that it has helped in our strategy of expanding at a lower cost. We are currently pursuing our expansion plans aggressively.”

    “The present real estate scenario has offered us the opportunity to expand at a lower cost. It has also provided us the scope to reduce our average rental cost which will help us improve our bottom line,” Babu further added.

    Into the business of mobile handset sales for over 11 years, UniverCell currently has over 200 touch points.

    When asked about diversifying the portfolio of UniverCell to beat the slowdown, Babu reacted, “We feel that there are enough growth opportunities within the telecom sector to grow and hence would like to focus sharply only on telecom in the medium term.”

    Elaborating the company’s plan to foray strongly outside south India, Babu disclosed, “We would like to maintain the focus on the South in the short-term before cautiously foraying into other regions. There are definite plans to expand outside south India during 2009-2010.”

    Meanwhile Babu stressed that the company has adopted enough measures to ensure maximum footfalls at its outlets. “As opposed to the conventional mobile retailing, we provide the ‘live demo experience’ to customers, where we show them dummy phones or leaflets. Therefore, customers get to experience the handsets before buying them,” he said.

    “Besides targeting the youth segment, we have continuously focused on improving our customer services to attract footfalls and despite the slow down, we continue to invest in marketing the ‘Univercell brand’ as the most preferred destination for buying mobile handsets,” concluded Babu.

    — Shailesh Shah