Now, retail outlets as exhibition centres, lifestyle stores

Updated: Jan 24 2002, 05:30am hrs
Furniture brand Usha Lexus plans to go in for unconventional promotional activity like holding painting exhibitions and flower shows on the showroom premises to increase footfalls and lure in the reluctant shopper. At a later stage it might also try to promote its outlets as total lifestyle and decor stores with paintings and artifacts also on sale.

Usha Lexus is also set to extend its range of branded furniture to include more segments like office furniture and kitchen cabinets this year. Says Mr Mukesh Kalra, vice president, Usha Shriram Furniture Industries,‘‘This will complete our portfolio and also enhance our image as a brand offering a complete range of products. Our aim is to be present in every domestic segment and provide furniture with idiot-proof packing and assembling that would not need any outside help. Kitchen cabinets is a segment of the future.’’ It has also begun to manufacture rubberised coir mattresses in matching sizes for its beds. In other initiatives, the company plans to expand its dealer network from the current 30 to 60 to achieve deeper market penetration. It will also increase its outlets to 65 by the end of the year. Of its present 26 outlets, 21 are franchisees and 5 are company-run showrooms. It will also go in for dealer education programmes to improve the levels of awareness among the trade and bring the brand closer to its target audience. It plans to connect all its outlets and dealers through its computer network for better connectivity.

Usha Lexus has recently extended its Manhatten range to include single products like dressers, cupboards, step chairs, which is a chair that can be converted into a step lader. The Manhatten range is the brand’s flagship product which offers a 14-unit package for Rs 54,000.

Lexus faces competition mainly from the unorganised market and in the branded segment from brands like Gautier and Durien. While Gautier makes laminate and board furniture, Durien is mainly importing and marketing products.‘‘Where we score is in offering solid wood furniture that offers longevity and good after-sales service. All our products come with a one-year guarantee against manufacturing defects and two-and-a-half years after sales service in the form of assistance in touch-up jobs and dismantling,’’ says Mr Kalra. Usha has three manufacturing units in Noida. Besides this it also imports ready-made rubberwood furniture from Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and teak wood items from Italy. Imports comprise 30 per cent of its range. Usha Lexus is targetting a turnover of Rs 20 crore this year, against Rs 13 crore last year.