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Creating a Landmark

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One of the largest book and music retail chains in India, Landmark has come a long way since its inception in 1987. The Chennai-based bookstore was acquired by Trent, a subsidiary of Tata Group, in 2005 and currently boasts of 17 large-format EBOs. Going ahead, Himanshu Chakrawarti, COO, Landmark, tells IndiaRetailing, the company plans to launch five to six new stores every year.

How big is the branded book and music retail industry in India? What is Landmark’s share in it?

The total book and music industry is estimated at around Rs.4,000-5,000 crore; the branded segment holds a very small share of it.

One of the oldest book and gift stores, Landmark is a Rs.200-crore company and enjoys very good brand recall. We plan to open 5-6 new stores every year in order to increase our market share. Usually we invest Rs.5-6 crore per store.

Last year, Landmark opened its discount format. How is it performing? Do you plan to open more such formats?

The discount format is something we didn’t understand too well; we are still learning it. As our discount format is not doing very well at the moment, we don’t plan to expand in this format. We will first try to get mechanics of discount retailing right, and then expand in the category. Currently, we have one discount store in Bangalore.

Trent took over Landmark a few years ago. What changes did you make in the existing format of the bookstore?

Trent acquired Landmark in 2005. At that time, it just had three bookstores. We worked on the range and categories, changed the interiors and acquired new places for opening more stores. Thus, we completely revamped Landmark as it existed then.

Do you prefer high streets or malls to open Landmark stores? What kind of model do you have with malls?

We are okay with both, but right now we are focussing more on malls. We have both revenue sharing and outright rental model with malls, depending on the location and on the mall itself.

What is the average size of Landmark stores?

The average size of our store is 25,000 sq.ft, although the size exceeds 45,000 sq.ft at some locations.

What kind of same-store growth did Landmark register in FY10?

Last fiscal, we registered same-store growth of 15-20 per cent. We want to not only maintain the momentum, but also improve our performance in the coming years.

Do you think airport retailing is coming of age? How important is it for you?

It is very significant for any retailer, specially for a book and gift retailer like us. Ours is a format that is viable for airport retailing. We wanted to be at T3, but we did not get space there.

Do you think the franchising model can work for Landmark?

Franchising is not a very viable model for us. It is not very easy for the franchisee to understand the kind of range and categories we have. Franchising can do well where you have a private label, but in our case it is not very feasible.

What are your expansion plans? Which all cities are on your radar?

We open around 4-5 stores every year. After the Delhi store, which opened recently, we will go to Pune and then to other regions.

Do you have plans to take Landmark to tier II cities?

We have stores in Lucknow and Baroda and they are doing really good. We are looking at real estate options in other tier II cities and will expand there soon. We want to cover as many cities as we can.



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