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Koutons converts more outlets to family stores

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Apparel company Koutons Retail is in a consolidation mode and is assessing the performance of its existing 1,400 outlets. In the past six months, the company has relocated about 50 outlets across India and converted over 150 exclusive men’s outlets into their family store format, housing the men’s, women’s and kid’s collection all under one roof. The company plans to have a store count of 1,500 outlets the end of March 2010.

All the new outlets will be based on the family store format. The first such store was opened in April 2008. “We noticed a very good response and better footfalls in the family stores. In fact, it was this format that helped us sail through in the difficult times,” says Balvinder Singh Ahluwalia, president of Koutons Retail India Ltd.

The new stores will be between 4,000 to 5,000 square feet. The large format stores of the company are of 10,000 square feet. The company is going ahead with the plans very cautiously due to the slowdown that affected market sentiments. Hence, the company does not want to go aggressive on expansion plans as of now. Besides, it does not plan to raise any debt also this year. The company plans to make an investment of Rs 100-150 crore for this financial year.

Koutons is also testing the exclusive women and kids wear store format and if successful, will launch the format next year. The company has also identified opportunities for expanding its product portfolio in the women’s segment and is studying the market as of now before it launches any new range.

Koutons, which positions itself as a mass brand, has recently added a new range – Feel Me, positioned slightly higher at a price point of Rs 899. The company hopes to strengthen its bottom line through this brand.

“The reason we have been able to manage our costs is because we do everything from manufacturing to retailing. There are no middlemen involved,” Ahluwalia adds.

The company will also utilise its manufacturing capacity to enter into the export market in the next financial year. The company is studying the pricing and sees opportunities in the Gulf for exports.

Source: Financial Chronicle

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