For photo printing cos, malls don’t pall | business | Hindustan Times
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For photo printing cos, malls don’t pall

business Updated: Mar 25, 2008 23:01 IST
Venkatesh Ganesh

Increasing footfalls in malls and theatres has seen a shift in strategy of photo printing companies like HP, Kodak, Canon and Nikon.

Seeing increasing consumers preferring to print photographs or order photo prints from malls, companies like Kodak, HP, Canon and Nikon are lining up aggressive plans to open their retail outlets like Aditya Birla backed More, Tata backed Croma, Reliance Digital, Hypercity and others.

Kodak is testing out its Photoexpress kiosk, which it has installed in 10 locations of More, Aditya Birla’s chain of retail stores all over India.

Similarly, HP has plans to roll out kiosks in malls all across India and has partnered with Infinity Retail, the company behind retain chain Croma and plans to set up 3000 kiosks by 2010. canon has tied up with RPG’s Spencer’s and Chennai-based Viveks to sell its wares that includes photo printing solutions.

The formats are similar to the shop-in-shop formats that retailers like Wal-Mart and Target follow in the US. Globally, in certain Wal-Mart stores, HP has its kiosks.

“Increasingly people are using malls to print photographs and upload photos to enable their relatives abroad to see them,” said Rich Duncombe, VP, Imaging and Printing Group, HP.

Agrees says Ravi Karamcheti, Managing director, Kodak India, “We do see a trend of people frequenting these supermarkets in both metros and tier II towns.”

“Whether it’s a first child or weddings, Indian people always want to share their memories and with a huge diaspora of Indians abroad, they are using technologies like kiosks and online photo sharing,” says Alok Bharadwaj, VP, Canon India.

Industry observers feel that it is realty costs that are driving these players to malls. “If you see the commercial rent in Mumbai in some places like South Mumbai and select northern suburbs, the rent has gone up by 80 per cent in 2007,” says a retail analyst from a leading Mumbai-based brokerage house.

As per a Gartner report, the Indian photo printing market was worth $110 million last year, and expected to grow at 20-22 per cent every year.