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Croma bid to reach out to customers

Mumbai, Dec. 25: Infiniti Retail, an entrant in the electronic retail market, plans to become a complete solution provider. The 100 per cent Tata Sons subsidiary, whose retail outlets are named Croma, is even ready to visit the homes of customers to understand their requirements.

“The margins are squeezed. The customer is now looking for something more than just a retail outlet. We want to give our customer more than just a product. We want to be a service provider. We try to judge the customer's requirement and then suggest a product,” said Ajit Joshi, CEO of Infiniti Retail.

“When it comes to buying a television set, I sometimes suggest my sales team to visit the customer's home and see exactly what size will suit his requirements,” he added.

Joshi believes that it’s not just products but the services that will attract customers.

The company plans to set up 20 stores in Mumbai. The target is to take the number to more than 100 by 2010.

“The idea is to first capture the eight major metros in the country and then move to cities such as Chandigarh and Nashik,” Ajit said.

Among the new cities, Ahmedabad, Surat and Baroda feature prominently.

Croma will enter the eastern market next year with five stores in Calcutta. “We are looking at August 2008 for our launch in Calcutta. We plan to have between four and five stores there.”

“At current rates, it costs between Rs 1,500-2,000 per square feet to set up a retail store such as Croma. With the basic cost accounting for 25-30 per cent of total expenditure, there will be pressure on margins as flooring, fixtures, IT network and air conditioning add up to the initial cost,” Joshi said.

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