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A lakh a month to top music store charts

Even as the country’s top retail players converged on the city to explore business opportunities at the CII summit, Calcutta’s favourite music store has managed to raise the performance bar again. MusicWorld, the RPG Group megastore on Park Street, which had become the chain’s number one outlet in turnover terms in October last year, has gone a step ahead now, emerging as India’s “highest-selling music store”.

“Our phenomenal bonding with the Calcutta consumer has just become stronger. Even with CD prices plummeting and despite the worldwide recession in the music industry, we did a turnover of Rs 8 crore in the last financial year. We expect to grow by around 10 per cent this fiscal,” N. Sathasivam, vice-president, operations and business head, MusicWorld Entertainment Ltd, said on Thursday. The store with the next-best turnover is the MusicWorld outlet in Ansal Plaza, New Delhi.

The average monthly footfall at the city store, now pegged around 70,000, is set to touch a lakh soon, as the chain aims to lift its national monthly footfall from 1.2 million to 2 million by next year. Buoyed by the sustained growth, MusicWorld has planned to spread its flanks. Within the next two months, Calcutta will have three MusicWorld Express outlets — medium-sized neighbourhood stores serving a radius of two-three km — and several Unplugged (shop-in-shop) outlets.

The three Express centres are coming up in Ultadanga (Sony World), Gol Park (Hallmark) and Elgin Road (Forum). “The Express format has worked almost everywhere and is an extremely simple and viable model. We bring in only the stocks and gondolas and the cost of exit is negligible should we need to leave,” said Sathasivam. “We have already been swamped with offers by property developers in different parts of Calcutta and Howrah for this format, and we hope to seal at least three more deals by March 2003.”

After rolling out the Express model, MusicWorld plans to start work on the other reaching-out arm, the Unplugged concept. Calcutta and its suburbs are expected to have a large share of the group’s target figure of 100 Unplugged locations by the end of this financial year.

“Of the Rs 900-crore organised music retail market, the metro share constitutes just about Rs 250 crore. In order to tap this huge potential in non-metros and semi-urban areas, we have to spread out through these models. For instance, places like Durgapur and Burdwan won’t be able to sustain a full-fledged MusicWorld, but Express outlets will be perfectly viable there,” according to the business head.

Sathasivam felt the percentage of serious music buyers is much more in Calcutta compared to other cities. “People here are both aware of and passionate about their music, and right from Day One, we have been fortunate to enjoy this special chemistry with the Calcutta crowd. Here, all crusts of the population frequent our store.” The music store chain has also tied up with Intel and Red FM.

MusicWorld, which will soon make a foray into hitherto uncharted Mumbai, is moving towards becoming a “complete entertainment centre”. With viewCD sales registering a 100 per cent growth, the Calcutta store has already repositioned its VCD gondolas to ensure greater visibility.

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