2 more Agrani iSWITCH stores to open within the next month

Agrani Convergence Ltd (ACL), the retailing arm of ASC Enterprises, an Essel Group company that operates telecom, information technology & learning, media & entertainment products and services, expects to commission two more iSWITCH ‘technology superstores’ before the end of January.

The stores are expected to open in Chennai and Mumbai (in the central suburb of Ghatkopar). There is another outlet expected to open soon after in Chandigarh, a company spokesperson said.

The first iSWITCH store was opened in Bangalore in February 2001. ASC is looking at opening 24 stores across the country by the end of the current financial year. At present there are 11 stores operating - Ahmedabad (one), Bangalore (two), Delhi (three), Noida (one), Jaipur (one), Kanpur (one), Ludhiana (one), and Mumbai (one).

According to the roadmap laid out, the first phase will see retail outlets opening in the top 23 cities across the country. Subsequent to that the aim is to cover 80 per cent of the district headquarters of India by 2006, the spokesperson said.

Per store investment varies according to store location, size, as well as the interiors and inventory but the average costs per outlet is Rs 10 million, she said.

Queried as to the key products that would drive the business, she identified them as IT and telecom products. "Over 90 per cent of our consumers in the SEC-A category (loosely put, with incomes in the upper middle and high bracket) already own a digital notebook and a mobile phone. Clearly, the role of hand-held devices in the contemporary lifestyle is rising and digi cams, personal digital assistants and mobile phones with multimedia facilities are selling like hot cakes," she said.

Elaborating on the main target audience, she said it could be broadly defined as male or female of 15 years and above, belonging to SEC A&B, interested in buying technology products. Broadly speaking, ACL has identified the target audience for Agrani iSWITCH as large sections of society, having technology requirements, she concluded.

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