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Monday, May 19, 2003

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Tupperware opens shop in Kerala

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TUPPERWARE India Pvt Ltd, the US-headquartered direct selling company that deals in plastic storage containers, has started operations in Thiruvananthapuram. With the opening of its office in the city, the company now has a presence in the three majors cities of Kerala, said Mr Michael Lazaro, Associate Sales Development Manager, Tupperware India Pvt Ltd.

The initial response to the company's launch has been quite encouraging, he said. A number of prospective direct selling agents or `consultants' as the company describes its frontline sale force, attended the introductory event organised in the city on May 17, he added.

The company will rely primarily on word-of-mouth to create and spread awareness in the city about its products, said Mr Lazaro. However, it may look at occasionally supplementing this with roadshows and kiosks in select locations, he added.

According to Mr Lazaro, the company will continue to use the `party concept' to sell its products. Under this system, a woman `hosts' a get-together for a group of acquaintances. During the party, the company's products are displayed for sale by a consultant, who is always a member of the company's all-woman sales force. The consultant demonstrates how various products can be used, answers queries of prospective customers and accepts orders during these sessions.

Many of those who participated in the introductory session in Thiruvananthapuram were reassured by the fact that the company has directly opened an office in the city, said Mr Lazaro. This is contrary to the company's normal policy of letting its main distributor in a location run the local Tupperware office, he explained. However, once the company's operations are properly established in the city, it will look at passing on its local office to a distributor, he added.

The company's office in Thiruvananthapuram will serve as its operations hub in the city and will provide a strong support system for its consultants, he said. In addition, it will also function as a venue for training sessions for the company's consultants, he added.

Mr Lazaro said the company's entire range of products would soon be available in the city. It currently retails plastic containers in ten broad categories including, containers for dry storage, for use in a microwave, for use in a refrigerator or freezer and so on.

In addition to Thiruvananthapuram, the company is also present in Kochi and Kozhikode, said Mr Lazaro. Overall, the company has 13 distributors in South India, he added.

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