Future Group’s Central to stay away from online presence

Purvita Chatterjee Mumbai | Updated on January 12, 2018 Published on January 17, 2017

After the sale of Pantaloons to the Aditya Birla Group, Future’s Group’s Central is expected to fill the void in the lifestyle and fashion segment.

Will expand brick and mortar format in new markets, focus on standalone stores

Future Group is staying away from having an online model for its lifestyle department store format, Central.

Despite its competitors like Shoppers Stop and Lifestyle trying out their respective omni channel strategies, Central will steer clear of having an online presence and would rather expand its brick and mortar stores in new markets and territories.

With demonetisation and increase in card penetration, Central, with its seamless mall format across several fashion brands, will continue to expand its number of brick and mortar stores into new regions like eastern India, taking its store count from 34 stores, to 50 this year.

Vishnu Prasad, Chief Executive Officer, Central, told BusinessLine said: “We have no plans to go online as Central is not going to be into making loss making deals like Flipkart. We will not pump in money anytime time this year since we cannot afford to make losses like the online players. It is simply about giving consumers convenience. Instead we will be taking up our store count and also our new HD format into new markets like Mumbai.’’

HD Central is an upgraded version with almost 60 upmarket brands which will not be part of the existing Central stores. With just two HD Central stores in Bangalore and Delhi, there are plans to have two more in areas like Goregaon and Vashi in the suburbs near Mumbai.

“The brands that we sell at our HD Central format would be different as we want to give a different experience to our customers. There would be premium brands like Super Dry, Tommy Hilfiger and Mothercare and footwear brands from Call It Spring and Steve Madden, which will not be available in the regular stores. Besides, Central will also house non-apparel categories like Hamleys toy stores at its outlet in Hyderabad,’’ he added.

Besides Central will also stay away from having its stores at malls in future as it wants to have specific focus on its customers. “We want to focus on our customers and this will not be possible if we were to have our stores at malls. Today out of our 34 stores, 13 are standalone stores in high streets. Going forward all our new stores are expected to be standalone,’’ Prasad added.

After the sale of Pantaloons to the Aditya Birla Group, Future’s Group’s Central is expected to fill the void in the lifestyle and fashion segment. New metro markets such as Kolkata where Central still does not have any stores is expected to be its next destination for the format.

Targeting revenues of ₹3,500 crore in 2017-18, Central, a part of Future Lifestyle Fashion, recently launched a co-branded credit card with SBI card and expects to sell 5 lakh cards this year.

Published on January 17, 2017
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