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Odyssey to open in Express Avenue

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Odyssey India Ltd, the leisure retail arm and 100 per cent subsidiary of Deccan Chronicle Holdings Limited, is set to roll out its large format store in Express Avenue mall, Chennai by the end of April this year. The expected store will occupy 25,000 square feet of retail space.

The tentative investment in opening this store is around Rs.10 crore, reveals T S Ashwin, managing director, Odyssey India Ltd. He further adds, “The property has been taken on rent following the agreement of revenue sharing with the real estate developer.” Odyssey has further planned to roll out two another large format stores in Brookefields Mall, Coimbatore and Prozone Mall, Aurangabad, which will be spread over an area of 13,000 square feet and 9,300 square feet respectively. These tentative stores are to be opened by June-July this year.

Odyssey`s current retail network is mostly operational in South, West and North India including Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Delhi/NCR, to drive the maximum leverage of the existing back-end support infrastructure.

At the very beginning of its journey into the leisure retail, Odyssey had to shut down its operational store at Prince Anwar Shah Road, Kolkata. “This decision had to be taken as there weren’t adequate and viable real estate options coming up that could be relevant to Odyssey in Kolkata and sustaining a single store in the city with the kind of investments required in managing the back end operations was proving to be a challenge. We intend focusing on the current cities that we are in for at least a year, till we derive the maximum efficiencies of the already setup back-end infrastructure and then chart into more territories,” Ashwin justified last year.

Now, the retailer plans to re-enter East zone, the most untapped retail market of India. Ashwin, however, clarifies, “ We will definitely look at the East in the future but only when we have covered the metros and tier II cities such as Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra and NCR.”

Ashwin further underlines, “Over the last two years, we have been streamlining our strategy and consolidating our operations to bring in more focus and efficiency and to strengthen the bottomline. One of the decisions taken was to concentrate and build our brands in states where we already have our back-end setup in place rather than expand into newer territories where we need to invest and again build from scratch. Hence, our current expansion for all our brands and formats is happening in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra and NCR mainly.”

“We will definitely look at the East in the future but only when we have covered the metros and tier II cities such as Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra and NCR.”
— T S Ashwin, MD, Odyssey India Ltd.

“In metros such as Chennai, Hyderabad and Bangalore we prefer standalone formats as there are a lot of neighbourhoods that provide good standalone options. In Mumbai and Delhi, we prefer mall stores as a lot of good mall options are coming up and the available standalone options are mostly not viable either financially or operationally,” says Ashwin.

Currently, Odyssey has different store formats such as large format, express format, stores at airport, metro stations, hotel/clubs, IT Park, petrol pump, eyewear store, vending machine and newly-added format, Editions. Evaluating the profitability of the different store formats Ashwin says, “We have stores across formats that have done well. Obviously older stores are better than newer ones due to lower real estate costs, but this too has been corrected to an extent as rentals have been negotiated and brought down over the last year.”

Odyssey`s large format stores are located at Jubilee Hills, Hyderabad (standalone) – 38,000 square feet; K Star mall, Mumbai – 18,173 square feet; Focus mall, Calicut, Kerala – 17,900 square feet; Indira Nagar, Bengaluru (standalone) – 16,500 square feet; Great India Place mall, Noida – 14,000 square feet; Adyar and Anna Nagar, Chennai (standalone) – 13,200 square feet and 13,000 square feet, respectively.

Speaking about Odyssey`s e-commerce website, which is fully functional but has not been launched officially, Ashwin remarks, “The official launch of in national media has been planned over the next few months as soon as some other pending tie-ups are in place. Currently the site is getting hits due to some marketing tie-ups and some local advertising. The initial response has been encouraging and we expect the revenues to substantially increase as the website becomes more visible.”

— Diwakar Kumar

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