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HindustanTimes Tue,16 Sep 2014

Furnishing trends

Madhusheel Arora   February 02, 2014
First Published: 09:51 IST(2/2/2014) | Last Updated: 09:52 IST(2/2/2014)

Where are you reading this piece? On a chair, bed, recliner or sofa? Is the fixture wooden, plastic, foam, wrought iron, leather, or a bean bag?

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The practical art of making spaces come alive and utilise potential is the essence of furniture business. The tricity offers a lot of opportunities here, across all market segments.

A big-ticket play, furniture manufacturing and retail has been here for ages, with the Sector-34 market alone accommodating nearly 90 shops.

“Apart from periodic tweaks and fads, the highest-selling item remains a boxed-bed,” says Seva Singh Rayat, chairman, Furniture Market, Sector 34-C, Chandigarh. There is always scope for customisation with shops making furniture-on-order.

For a fresh entrepreneur, getting real estate is a challenge as spacious stores are a necessity. Players have to present at central locations, where rentals could be high. A capital-intensive proposition, skilled labour and adequate business knowledge is the key to profits here. Repairing remains an opportunity, with bespoke furnishing the norm.

The entry of Dubai-based home furnishings company, Marina Home, in Chandigarh does arouse interest. Already in Delhi, the company did not respond to a questionnaire. A look around its store, though, seems to be a pointer that it is banking on its lifestyle quotient. This, it seems to have in plenty with its product range targeted at the premium and the moneyed class. Will it succeed, probably yes, but let time be the judge?

Of the millions of ways in which you can furnish your home, wood remains the common base, followed by glass. Solid high-quality wood pieces are expensive. The business is increasingly looking at other materials as the ‘green’ movement takes traction. Of course, even in wood, MDF (medium density fibre) did emerge as a fad, but seems to have petered out.

Margins seem to be a non-issue. “Skilled labour to work on and finish a piece and imbuing it with real quality is our biggest headache,” says Vikram Gupta, one of the owners of Glass Palace.

Gupta adds that online furniture stores, a channel that is in its infancy here, will have limited traction as people like to feel and experience their purchase.

However, an online furniture store, conceptualised by two IIM Bangalore graduates did raise capital recently and could be something to look at.

Retail is the focus and there is a direct link between the number of new constructions and the business uptick.

Modular kitchen is the ‘in’ thing and everybody seems to want it. However, before you follow the trend, make sure it works for you.

More than 65% of the business is in the unorganised sector. This can hold back innovation, but does make up for inclusion. The share of organised sector is rising with players such as Godrej Interio increasingly drawing innovative strategies, as designs seem to take priority over longevity for an increasing number of new customers.

The trend of do-it-yourself furniture is something that will take some adjustment to by the Indian consumer.
Refer to last piece

NTL Electronics has clarified that it makes 10 lakh LEDs a month and not 1 crore as published here on January 19.

Where are you reading this piece? On a chair, bed, recliner or sofa? Is the fixture wooden, plastic, foam, wrought iron, leather, or a bean bag?

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