Companies

Now, a retail Titan with 1,000 stores

Our Bureau Bangalore | Updated on March 13, 2018 Published on December 16, 2013

bl16_Titan

Titan's HTSE range on display at 'The Titan Store'. File Photo.

In 1988, Bhaskar Bhat, as a young sales manager in Titan Co Ltd, was part of the team that opened the watch maker’s first store in Safina Plaza in Bangalore’s shopping district. Today, as Managing Director, Bhat flagged off the company’s 1,000th exclusive store in the Indira Nagar area of the city.

Along the way, to the enduring signature tune of the company, from Mozart’s 25th Symphony, the once watch maker has transformed itself to be a retailer of jewellery, eye wear and, of late, fragrances.

After inaugurating the store, Bhat, in an interaction with the media, reeled off a welter of statistics: the company has stores across 177 cities, 26 States, with the store s across various brands: 373 World of Titan watch stores and the rest comprising its other brands such as Fastrack, Tanishq, Helios, Eye Plus.

“Titan,” declared Bhat,” is the first Indian company to have a 1,000 stores across so many brands.” If one takes into account the multi-brand watch stores that Titan sells through, it would add up to at least 13,000 outlets across the country, said Bhat. And, in the past 25 years, the company has seen 150 million customers troop through its stores.

First store

The first store, recalls Bhat, was spread across just 350 sq.ft. and had just 150 SKUs (stock keeping units, for example a watch with three different straps, each would be an SKU). The new store, spread over 5,500 sq.ft., has SKUs five times as much, said Bhat. This new store is unique as it stocks both eye wear as well as watches. The company expects a similar profile of customer to shop both for watches as well as stylish spectacles or sunglasses.

In an interview with Business Line, Bhat said the company in the mid-80s had produced a good quality and good looking watch which later sparked off the quartz watch (from mechanical, hand wound watches) wave. However, it realised that the way watches were sold in those days the product would have bombed. So the company stepped into retailing by setting up smart looking stores, in places where people shopped for clothes to shoes.

“We were the only watch store in Safina Plaza for over a decade,” recalls Bhat. Along the way, Titan created some memorable advertising for its watches (by O&M), sparked off a trend in gifting watches for occasions and made owning more than one watch fashionable. In an age when Web shopping is gaining ground, Bhat insists that there is room for luxurious brick and mortar stores.

“It has to be the net and physical stores, not or,” said Bhat. Customers still like the see, touch and feel experience. Watches too, he said, have to evolve from being keepers of time and style statements to be a device of use. “One has to have a rational peg to buy watches,” he said. Bhat gave an indication of what’s the future for a watch: as a device that records the wellness of a person, to ‘senior citizen’ watches that can give out alerts in case of an untoward incident, or even watches that can download a new watch face from the Web so that you can have a new display every other day.

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Published on December 16, 2013
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