d’mart Exclusif, Dolphin Mart’s home decor and gifting solutions brand, plans to open around 35 stores and is targeting a turnover of Rs 80 crore this fiscal. In the current financial year, the company plans to invest a total sum of Rs 20-25 crore for expansion. d’mart Exclusif plans to open 3 stand-alone showrooms, 15-16 boutiques at airports/ malls, and 14-16 franchise stores this fiscal. It also plans to open a kiosk at T3 Terminal in Delhi and stores in tier 2 and 3 cities as well. The company will also venture into e-commerce by the end of this year.
Dolphin Mart is the importer and distributor of premium signature art and decor pieces including silverware, crystal ware, limited edition collectibles, objects d’art, figurines, furniture accessories and gifts items, selected and sourced from international brands in Italy, Spain, Germany, France, UK, and China. The company claims that d’mart Exclusif is the sole product distributor for such premium brands in India as per an agreement.
Speaking about the location preferences for its new stores, Praveen Rao, Vice President, Dolphin Mart, said: “The ideal location to open a new store depends on a number of factors. Our first preference is stand-alone showrooms on high streets, followed by reputed mall/shopping complexes.”
Highlighting the key requirements of a franchisee, he said that an exclusive franchisee would be required to invest a sum of Rs1 crore and must have an area of 1,200 sq.ft. while a non-exclusive franchisee would have to invest Rs 30 lakh and have an area between 800 and 1,000 sq.ft. For the shop-in-shop format, the franchisee will have to invest upto Rs 20 lakh and must have an area of 500-600 sq.ft.
Talking about the per store investment, Rao said: “The investment outlay for a typical flagship store is about Rs 2 crore while for a franchisee store it would be about Rs 1 crore.”
He confirmed that d’mart Exclusif spends 10 percent of its total sales on advertising and marketing including more than 15 exhibitions annually. Kiosks are an important lead creation point for the retailer. Stores contribute 35 percent towards total sales of d’mart Exclusif.
Rao confirmed that the brand comes across common problems faced by most retailers in the country. High inflation, rising cost of transportation, rising interest rates, and tight credit lines make it difficult to operate as a premium lifestyle product retailer in India. “For importers, tariff barriers can make it difficult to bring goods into a country. Tariff barriers are duties imposed on goods which effectively create an obstacle to trade. Another problem we face today is the increasing cost of production leading to lower margin on products. India as a market has inadequate retail infrastructure, which is also a problem for running large scale retail operations,” he added.
Sharing details about the brand’s worldwide limited edition representations of Indian deities, Rao stated that the limited edition range was launched in 2001 in 92.5 percent sterling silver. The company currently has 57 types of creations under the category including Ganesha, Laxmi, Saraswati, Krishna, Balaji, Ramdurbaar, Durga, Buddha, Mahavira, and Sai Baba.
He further added: “Each and every single item in the Worldwide Limited Edition collection of Indian deities is conceptualised and designed in India but hand-sculpted and painted by skilled Italian/German artists. We have a team of in-house designers which creates these artistic designs based on research, which then finds authentic rendition by Italian /German artists. As the moulding and crafting techniques used by the artists in Italy and Germany are age-old they are quite comfortable with the process. Italian artists are world renowned silversmiths; they oversee the design process with great expertise. The creation of these sculptures, involves painstakingly accurate scientific processes of heating, cooling, glazing, merging, oil selection and hand painting, all of which they have an expertise in.”
According to Rao, among all the products sold at d’mart Exclusif, the price band between Rs 25,000 and Rs 35,000 is the most popular among Indian customers. Worldwide limited editions sell the most in India, contributing almost 60 percent towards the total sales of the company.
Commenting on the retail market for premium lifestyle products in India, Rao said that the organised lifestyle retail sector in the home décor category is growing at more than 30 percent annually. According to industry estimates, there is a huge untapped market for the Rs 140 billion home improvement vertical in India. Indian consumers have disposable incomes and are looking for more upgraded lifestyles, which d’mart Exclusif caters to. The market has also extended from metro to tier 2 cities as well, which shows exponential growth in the sector.
He also said that the aggressive expansion plans of the company will be supported by strong marketing activities. d’mart Exclusif will indulge in destination marketing, direct marketing, online marketing, and also participate in exhibitions all over India to meet its set expansion targets. “We have a three pronged distribution strategy in place: we are looking at company owned boutiques, franchisee development, and a large dealer network to reach out on a pan India basis,” Rao added.
Headquartered in Delhi, d’mart Exclusif currently has 2 flagship and signature boutiques each, 15 franchise stores, and 1 kiosk at Chatrapati Shivaji Terminal in the country. It has three overseas franchisees; one in Dubai and two in USA. Overseas stores contribute 25 percent of the total sales while 75 percent sales come from the Indian stores of the brand.