Preeti Mehra
Dharini Nagarajan

New Delhi, Nov. 8

BALLARPUR Industries Ltd (BILT) is all set to foray into retailing by opening exclusive stationery stores.

It will leverage its retail brands, Matrix and Royal Executive Bond, and retail other stationery products, including pens, pencils and folders, through these stores.

BILT has already started test marketing by supplying to other outlets such as Archies and hopes to gradually increase its market share.

BILT Matrix, launched earlier this year, offers stationery goods such as premium notepads, five-subject notepads and writing pads. The company plans to change the traditional image of stationery products in the country.

During the first year of launching Matrix, the products have witnessed a five-fold increase in sales.

To supplement the Matrix range, BILT has introduced the BILT Matrix Youth Series exclusively targeted at college goers. BILT is also planning on taking this brand overseas by launching some of its key products in Sri Lanka. The company also has another retail flagship printing and writing paper brand, Royal Executive Bond.

BILT is currently focussed on building the necessary distribution network to reach out to domestic consumers. It is targeting to serve 12,000 retail outlets across 200 towns by the year-end.

"Given the changing landscape of the Indian economy, it is only logical to focus on the retail market in the country," Mr L.M. Thapar, Chairman of BILT, told Business Line.

The stationery shops that the company is planning will cater to all the demands of a customer seeking stationery goods, he said. Sourcing of other stationery products will be necessary to complete the entire portfolio.

Mr Thapar affirmed that there is still unlimited scope for retail expansion. "These outlets will reinforce the fact that BILT is one of the quality paper manufacturers in the country and at the same time also scare off any external competition, as we would have a substantial market share."

Expanding on other fronts, BILT will be launching its own tissue paper business on Wednesday, which according to the company is the `closest they have come to entering the retail market.'

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated November 9, 2005)
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