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Eros upbeat on retail outlook
Muzaffar Rizvi / 3 February 2013
Eros Group is upbeat about the retail sector growth and plans to expand its operation in the region through acquisition, its top executives said.
The 46-year old leading business group, which mainly deals in electronics, telecoms, digital products and home appliances, is planning to enter the non-electronics sectors by setting up a Lifestyle Products Business Group to diversify its business.
“Eros Group has enjoyed a very successful 2012 with a 49 per cent increase in turnover. This was largely accomplished through the phenomenal sales of the smartphones mainly the Galaxy S3 and Note 2. Also the flat panels segment, which as per market standards has not grown, gave us an over 20 per cent growth,” Deepak Babani, chief executive officer, Eros Group, told Khaleej Times.
The group’s deputy chief executive Niranjan Gidwani, who was also present on the occasion, shed light on the company’s major initiatives and discuss the future products, which are due to launch later this year. He was also very confident about the promising future of consumer electronics industry and group expansion in the region.
Eros Group, part of the Badri Group, is the sole distributor of leading brands like Samsung, Hitachi, Candy, BenQ and TCL, among others. It has 32 retail stores across the UAE and generates Dh3.6 billion revenues annually. The group employs over 1,500 professionals and has over 200,000 square feet of logistics space.
“The retail floor space for electronics continues to grow with electronic retailers identifying new areas for growth and expansion. We ourselves will launch five stores in 2013 and believe that other retailers will launch a total of at least 15 stores in 2013,” Babani said.
He said the new stores will be inaugurated in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah and Fujairah to expand its client base in the UAE.
In reply to a question on exclusive distribution rights of major brand this year, he said: “We seek brands, which are a right fit for us and do not create a brand conflict. The new brand must fill a void in our brand portfolio.”
The group is consolidating its future through expansion in Gulf states and East Africa regions. It is planning to enter the non-electronics sectors to better manage risk factor. “We are continuously expanding. At present we have a retail network of 32 outlets managed by Eros Group. We are exploring opportunities in other GCC countries as well at the opportune time will make the entry,” he said.
To a question, he said the group will expand its operations in the region through acquisitions or partners, however he declined to share details as the talks are at preliminary stage.
About the retail sector outlook and the Eros Group business growth this year, he said the group will record strong growth due to flourishing electronics market.
“We are positive about 2013 and are looking for a 20 per cent growth this year as well,” Babani said.
In reply to a question about the growing competition, he said: “As a distributor we have good relations with our other retailers who are our channel partners. Eros Digital Home is largely a store that showcases and retails brands distributed by Eros Group and only in the case of mobiles and IT is multibrand.”
Regarding the new trends in technology and consumer products, the industry veteran said smartphones are continuously evolving with new features and technologies.
“Also the launch of 4K High Defination, also known as Ultra HD, is the new in viewing pleasure. Smart TV is also a technology that is evolving,” he said, and adding that the tablet market will also continue to grow in coming months.
In reply to a question, he said low-price tablets from India and China do not affect the market as leading brands hold the key share and still dominate the segment, which is eating up the share of laptops and notebooks.
Niranjan Gidwani said smartphones, smart TVs and tablets in total account for 40 per cent of Eros Group business in 2012.
To a question about Samsung Galaxy S3 sales, he said 30 million units of Korean product have been sold globally, and in the UAE it has been number one in the GFK hit list for 2012.
“We do not wish to share the UAE numbers of Galaxy because more and more gray importers will get interested to bring in this product,” he said.
About the product line in 2013, he said some interested products are expected to be launched this year.
“In 2013, we have some very interesting products, particularly Galaxy S4, Note 3, new and improved refrigerators, washing machines and vacuum cleaners from Hitachi, and more exciting TVs from Samsung and TCL.”
In reply to another question regarding any new initiative, he said the group is ready to venture in new business.
“We are also branching out into some new businesses and starting a Lifestyle Products Business Group, details for which cannot be shared at this point of time,” he concluded.
Executives Spearheading growth
deepak babani has been with Eros Group for 30 years. He has spearheaded the growth of Eros Group from a turnover of Dhs 6 million in 1981 to more than Dh3.6 billion today. Under his leadership, Eros Group has established itself as the leading distributor for Consumer Electronics, Home Appliances, Telecom, IT and Air-conditioning products in the UAE, GCC and East African regions. The Group has been on a continuous growth curve and currently has over 1500 employees, 800 authorised dealers and 32 retail outlets across the UAE.
NIRANJAN GIDWANI joins Eros Group with a proven track record of over 28 years in professional management and has a strong exposure to international business and handling start up ventures. He has expertise of the business from different vantage points including, general management, International business development, handling international start-ups, marketing, global sourcing of consumer electronics, appliances, consumer goods, digital mobiles, and multimedia.
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