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Landmark bets on franchises

Tata Group-owned Landmark, which has 18 large format book stores, is revisiting its expansion strategy. Instead of expanding through company-owned stores, the book chain will now focus on establishing a franchisee-based model. Rachit Vats reports.

business Updated: Jun 08, 2012 22:51 IST
Rachit Vats

Tata Group-owned Landmark, which has 18 large format book stores, is revisiting its expansion strategy. Instead of expanding through company-owned stores, the book chain will now focus on establishing a franchisee-based model.

"Until now our approach has been to open Landmark-owned stores," said Ashutosh Pandey, chief operating officer, Landmark. "We are now looking at the franchisee model."

The company is looking to open at least 25 new large format stores over the next three years. "We have realised that it's one thing to run a few stores on our own but it's not the same to do so on a larger scale," said Pandey. "Landmark is more than just a bookstore as we have at least six categories including books. This kind of work needs specialisation and as we look to expand rapidly, the franchisee model will work best for us."

Landmark's next on target is franchisee-run stores in Nashik, Kanpur, Vishakapatnam.

"There is at least a 25% growth in the overall book market in India, and while the online business is growing rapidly, there is scope for the brick and format model to grow as well," said Pandey.

Key leading organised retail book chains include Crossword, Odyssey, Oxford, Reliance Time out, Landmark, Om Book Shop and others. More than 75% stores of these large chains are in top eight cities. The online space is dominated by players such as Flipkart, Indiaplaza, Infibeam etc.

Infact, others have also followed a mix of company-owned and franchisee stores. Oxford Bookstore, for example, has 28 stores in total- company owned and franchised. "We will be ramping up our presence in the metros," said Abhishek Kumar, COO, Apeejay Oxford Bookstores.

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