Running out of time, HMT tries to sell watches online

HMT ties up with Flipkart to sell 3,000 watches, also in talks with other online retailers.

In the run-up to its shutdown, one of the country?s enduring public-sector brands, HMT Watches, has tied up with Flipkart to sell 3,000 of the last of its stock online. The company has also approached other online retailers such as Snapdeal and eBay to make some final cash out of the nostalgia HMT timepieces still evoke.

?The company?s final inventory is about 1 lakh pieces worth more than Rs 10 crore. Offers for tie-ups have started coming from online retailers. We have also approached a few and talks with them are on,? a company official told The Indian Express.

A company official said the news of shutdown has boosted demand for HMT, which was been the ?timekeeper of the nation? for over 50 years. As first reported in The Indian Express, the government has decided to wind up its wholly-owned firm, HMT Ltd, as the manufacturer has been making losses since 2000. The company has, in fact, been unable to generate adequate revenue to even pay salaries to its employees.

The company?s net loss rose to Rs 242 crore in 2012-13 from Rs 224 crore a year earlier. Both HMT Watches and HMT Chinar Watches have got the board of directors? nod to down their shutters.

The company has 1,025 employees and the government has initiated work on a voluntary retirement scheme for them. ?The company has been unable to keep pace with changing technologies. The production quality dropped, leading to fall in sales,? the official said. The company once boasted of a wide range of products, with more than 2,000 models.

HMT has four units, including those in Bangalore and Tumkur in Karnataka, and Ranibagh in Uttarakhand, while HMT Chinar Watches has two units in Jammu and Srinagar. According to the directors? report, the company did not show significant improvement in performance in 2012-13 and had sales worth a meagre Rs 11.06 crore and production worth Rs 14.03 crore during the year.

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First published on: 12-10-2014 at 09:19 IST