26 May 2017

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A Glittering Retail Success Story from East India

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Gold has always been a passion for Indian women and there are many traditional success stories related to the trading of this yellow metal.

Kolkatta being the city of creativity and craftsmanship, Senco Gold has been established in the city in 1938 as a reliable gold manufacturer. They now manufactures, exports and trade exclusive designs of jewellery and is known for its affordable light weight jewellery which caters to both middle class to upper class customers.

 

Mr Suvankar Sen is the young face of the company who joined the family business headed by his grandfather in 2007 after finishing his MBA from IMT Ghaziabad. The connect of the brand with the younger generation has been his forte.


On Trends and Business
After establishing as the largest jewellery retail chain of East India since 75 years and with a customer base of more than 1 lakh, Senco Gold, has now a total of 27 franchisees in West Bengal and 19 own stores across India. They are also into exporting to countries like Dubai, Singapore, US & UK. Besides 22 ct hallmarked Gold, they also deal with certified diamond, platinum, costume jewellery and astral gems. Senco is now focus is to open more f outlets to gain pan-India footprint.

Our group export outfit too primarily to Singapore and Dubai – clocked business worth Rs 300 crore last fiscal” says Suvankar. The company aims to achieve 10-15 per cent growth in exports this fiscal. “Franchisee is all about relationships. Like a family, it has to be a win-win situation or else it will not last. With the grace of God, till now we have had a good experience with majority of the franchisee and it has been an effective tool for growth. There are always cases of bad apples in a basket, but that is life” he continues.

Consumers today are becoming finicky about buying jewellery as earlier it was considered for investment but now its more of a trend and style. Today consumers want lighter and sleek designs in jewellery unlike earlier times when people wanted heavy work. As days go by, customers want to experiment and get something new. So Senco believes that there will be a simultaneous existence of both kinds.

On Challenges
Suvankar agrees that the price volatility is affecting business, as it is becoming unpredictable and uncertain with regards to planning of merchandize and smooth supply of raw materials for manufacturing. “Consumers are also confused with regards to price and purchase plan”.

About the current gold price fluctuations he says that it is likely to continue for next 2-3 years, sometimes up, sometimes down, but in the long run it is sure to go up. But customer’s perennial appetite for gold pushed up their sales by 25 to 30 percent despite depressions”. They believe that business will be good for the industry and sales will be high in terms of value and volume.

It is true that consumers may lower the quantity of purchase so as not to increase their investment budget due to the sudden rise in prices. But their enthusiasm continued despite higher prices and led to more than 30 per cent rise in overall sales. Volume wise, sales is likely to remain subdued. “There are some challenges of supply chain also, which is sorted will make the business grow through all channels and cover the footprints of pan India” he reveals.

Strategies
“We have been trying all models- more outlets, franchise, exports and corporate.  All these are pertinent and important for growth”.  The company is also spending nearly two to three per cent of its turnover in branding and marketing to develop a national footprint. Recently they have tied up with Mudra’s for advertising and promotions which are coming out in flourishing colors. As they are planning all India expansion and along with that promoting the all India campaign Media Campaigns in Kolkata.

“To have more success in future and to gain the position of national brand we have to be more depended on differentiation, affordability and quality which can be a key element in sustaining a brand” says Suvankar. “In addition, branded players require focus on advertising and astute salesmanship to compete in this competitive market, so do we need to focus on the same” he reveals.

Future Plans
The company’s business and operations have grown rapidly in recent years. “We expanded our retail network from one showroom as of 1954 to 46 showrooms as of 2013 and keen to open more by fiscal 2015” says Suvankar. “We as a group are dominating player in Kolkata with 44 outlets in West Bengal, Jharkhand, Odisha and Assam to expand with retail outlets in the northern and central parts of the country” he continues.

The first such outlet was recently opened in Delhi and next one will soon be opened in Bhopal. Plans are now afoot to double the retail network in next five years. Being the largest player in the eastern region in terms of the number of stores, the company is looking forward to consolidate their position there and expand nationally.

 

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