According to an article in the Indian business publication the Financial Chronicle India’s first national electronics superstore Croma, the Tata group-owned retailer, plans to enter the refrigerator category with a significant collection of Private Brand products manufactured in India and imported from overseas.
“We had sourced around 200 units of refrigerators each in various sizes to test market them in our stores. We have received a tremendous response with several models selling out rapidly. So we are now extending the range to include 300 litre models and above and also possibly double door refrigerators,” said Ajit Joshi, CEO at Infiniti Retail – the Tata Sons subsidiary that runs the Croma range of electronics megastores. While Croma had introduced a range of frost-free and direct cooled refrigerators under 300 litres capacity, the firm is now plans to introduce models above that capacity.
“We’re sourcing these from big original equipment manufacturers in India as it’s easier from a logistics point of view,” said Joshi. The refrigerators, which were three-star rated have been a big hit because of their thoughtful design. “The new refrigerators will all be five-star rated,” he said. A higher star rating denotes an appliance certified by the Bureau of Energy Efficiency as consuming less power for operation. Experts estimate that a five star rated refrigerator could save customers as much as the cost of the appliance in just a couple of years.
Croma’s new Private Brand offerings have will offer significant cost savings to customers. Joshi is also in talks with manufacturers overseas to introduce Croma branded upside down refrigerators in India. These fridges are being sold by firms such as Panasonic in India and aim to provide easy access to the refrigerator section without the need for women to bend over. This is because the fridge makes up the top part of the appliance, while the freezer is accessed by a door at the bottom end of the appliance.
“Since Indian households tend to use the fridge more intensively than the freezer section, the upside down design allows easier access to food stored particularly for a large population that is developing knee related and spinal problems,” said Joshi. The upside down refrigerators being sold in India by Hitachi etc retail at a significant premium to conventional refrigerators of the same size. Hence a Private Brand offering that’s reasonably priced has the potential to gain rapid market share in this nascent category, feel industry experts.
The upside down fridges are being sourced from overseas, though Croma is looking for domestic manufacturers for the same. Private Brands help fill in a key gap in terms of price points or functionality that larger brands may not. The retailer wants to raise the contribution of Private Brands to almost a fifth of its total revenues.
Chroma has stores can be found in Mumbai, Navi Mumbai, Pune, Aurangabad, Ahmedabad, Rajkot, Surat, Vadodara, Delhi NCR, Bengalooru, Chennai & Hyderabad.