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We are seeking FDI relaxation to open exclusive store: Sunil Wadhwa

In 2014, the Groupe SEB acquired 100% of Maharaja Whiteline a leader in small domestic appliances in India. Now the company has launched domestic appliance brand Tefal.

Tags: Croma, Vijay sales, Groupe SEB, Tefal, Maharaja Whiteline , Flipkart, Amazon,

BY Shipra Srivastava  |  March 15, 2017  |  comments ( 0 )  | 

Sunil Wadhwa

Groupe SEB India is the Indian arm of Groupe SEB, a France-based global leader in small equipment segment. In 2014, the Groupe acquired 100% of Maharaja Whiteline a leader in small domestic appliances in India. Headquartered in Delhi, the Groupe has over 22 branch offices, 750 Distributors and 40,000 Dealers across the country, along with an in-house manufacturing facility at Baddi (Himachal Pradesh) spread over more than 10 acres. Domestic appliances major Groupe SEB has just launched French brand Tefal to Indian market. The brand was operational in Indian markets during early nineties, but its offerings were too advanced for Indian consumers at that time.  During the re-launch Sunil Wadhwa, CEO, Groupe SEB India interacted with indianretailer.com.

Why you waited  so long to re-launch the brand, there is already a huge competition from brands  like Philips and Prestige which are operating in the similar space?

Earlier Tefal was launched only with one-two SKUs. Existing competition do not bother me so such as our range is innovative catering  particular needs of the Indian consumers. It is about offering value products with reasonable price tag. Unlike European market the ownership of domestic appliances is less than 20% in India. Let’s take the example of steam iron; it is less than two 2%. People do not have enough appliances so they will buy for sure.  The market has enough potential and we have our own R&D and manufacturing facility that comes as an added advantage.

But, the brand recalling of Prestige and Phillips is very strong? What is your strategy to compete with them?

Normally, people look at the two three brands before they end-up buying a brand. They compare price and the features before making final purchase.  We stand out to these brands in terms of quality,  let’s take the example of steam iron, our range comes with Durilium technology, which no other brand including Phillips has.

We will spend 2%-4% of overall budget on marketing related activities. We will be betting big on social media for promotional activities

Shed light on your distribution?

For Tefal, we are starting with 11 cities in current year. As of now, we will have two-three distributors in the each market.  As of now, we would be focusing on metro and tier1 markets for the expansion of brand. We are there on the all leading market places including the Amazon, Flipkart to name a few. Also, we shall be exploring modern trade including Croma, Vijay sales etc. in the time to come.

For Maharaja, it is basically a North India brand which is now expanding in South region, we do pan India through e-commerce and modern trade and not by traditional trade. Presently, we have around 1000 distributors for Maharaja.

Any plans to open exclusive stores in near future?

Brand Tefal has 1100 brand stores across the world. In India, policies are not very friendly as far as FDI in multi brand retail is concerned. Clauses related to sourcing exporting and foreign exchange neutral are bit tedious to work with. The market is evolving; we are just waiting for the right time to enter Indian market with our exclusive stores.

Indian domestic appliances market is fairly dominated by the unorganized players. What kind of challenges you face while working with them especially in tier 2 cities?

In terms of sale, unorganized trade contributes 80% of overall market. Indian complexities are huge in terms of distribution. Contrary to perception the tier 2 is far more educated and evolved. Traditional trade is not going anywhere at least for next twenty years but the same time the organize trade is also evolving. We decide distribution as per the demand. For example, we have not introduced baking related equipments in the tier 2 markets as we understand there would be less need of these equipments.

Apart from cookware which category would be on focus? And, what are your plans to expand the existing category?

We have not even introduced the 5% of the international portfolio. We have yet to launch personal grooming rage from Tefal. It should be our next launch.

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