Despite second Covid wave, Titan forges ahead with Tanishq store expansion plans

Sangeetha Chengappa Bengaluru | Updated on June 21, 2021

Ajoy Chawla, Chief Executive Officer- Jewellery

While the market conditions continue to be volatile and uncertain, the outlook for jewellery continues to be good: CEO

Some of the new Tanishq stores that Titan Jewellery Division planned to open in FY22 may get deferred while the company takes stock of the volatile situation in the wake of the second Covid wave.

“We opened 36 new Tanishq stores in FY20, and had planned to open 35-36 new Tanishq stores in FY21 but ended up opening 26 new stores. Everything got deferred due to the pandemic. This fiscal, our pre-Covid wave-2 plan was to open 35-36 Tanishq stores, but post the second wave, we have to take stock of our plans to implement some course corrections along the way,” Ajoy Chawla, CEO, Titan Jewellery Division, told BusinessLine. The company, which has 356 Tanishq stores, plans its store openings over a two-year horizon. Most of the new stores will be franchisee stores which will be set up at an investment of ₹25 crore per store (including the inventory).

Chawla said, while the market conditions continue to be volatile and uncertain, the outlook for jewellery continues to be good. “Unlike this year, where Covid has gone in deep into the countryside, last year, Tier-3 and -4 towns did very well as they were relatively unaffected by Covid. We saw good rural demand last year therefore, we don’t see any reason to hold back our expansion drive into small towns and newer catchment areas.”

Safety protocols

As of this morning, the company has opened 270 Tanishq stores of its 356 stores and hopes to open 15-20 more by the end of the day. Every store that is opened will have 100 per cent vaccinated staff or staff who have antibodies after having recovered from Covid. Safety protocols have been tightened and made even more stringent. For example, all store staff will be double masked and customers will also be given a second mask upon entering the store.

“We are installing air purifiers in certain areas, because we know now the virus is airborne. We are taking special care of our A/C filters and also experimenting with some air purifiers which have some advanced technology. We are currently piloting it in some stores and will roll it out soon. We are also experimenting and rolling out an anti-microbial coating for jewellery like everyday wear — rings, bangles, chains etc for which we are collaborating with a European organisation. This unique technology kills any microbe including Covid. While it can last longer, the guarantee will be for a year. We have launched it in Lucknow and Chennai and will launch it in Kolkata and Hyderabad next, after which a national rollout is planned over the next few months,” said Chawla.

All the company’s stores have got licenses for hallmarking from BIS and all the jewellery including the opening stock of 2 million pieces across the country are 100 per cent hallmarked.

The company ended FY 2021 with flat growth on reported sales garnering ₹18,460 crore in retail consumer sales plus clinched a huge institutional order of gold coins from the Tamil Nadu Government. New age shopping which includes online, omnichannel, remote shopping (video calls, endless aisles), sending products to customer homes for trials, delivering products to customer homes, now contributes to 9 per cent of the company’s sales and Chawla expects this to grow to 15 per cent going forward.

“In an insecure environment gold emerges as a safe haven for most people on the one hand, while safety and convenience of going to a Tanishq store near by which was a huge competitive advantage for us last year, will continue to drive market share for us” said Chawla.

Published on June 21, 2021

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