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Steelcase enters India via direct selling

US-based Steelcase, a $3.1 billion company that deals in office furniture, to set up its own showrooms across top Indian cities, reports Ruchi Hajela.
Hindustan Times | By Ruchi Hajela, New Delhi
UPDATED ON MAR 11, 2008 10:37 PM IST

US-based Steelcase, a $3.1 billion company that deals in office furniture, has entered into India through the direct selling model.

The company has had a presence in India for the last five years through distributors. However, now Steelcase will set up its own showrooms across top Indian cities and has set up its first showroom in Delhi.

“We are hoping that the BPO and information technology enabled services industry will continue to grow as these are our potential clients,” Uli Gwinner, President, Steelcase Asia Pacific said. According to a research by industry body NASSCOM, the IT and the ITES Segment has the maximum demand for office furniture, and there is a change in the way the offices are being designed, said a statement issued by the company.

Steelcase will import ergonomically designed furniture from countries like the US. The idea is to have comfortable office furniture that helps employees stay stress free. In India, companies like Ergo and Featherlite compete with Steelcase for office furniture.

“We will invest between $1,00,000 (Rs 40 lakh) and $10,00,000 (Rs 4 crore) per showroom,” Gwinner said. The company plans to have two more showrooms in India this year with the immediate one in line to be set up in Bangalore around next week. The company is eyeing cities like Mumbai, Chennai and Hyderabad as well.

Steelcase helps multinational companies develop their office spaces in concept and in executing them. Some of the leading clients of Steelcase include companies like McKinsey, Nokia and Google.

There are other aspects to office furnishing as well. A company called Mini Theatres provides audio video solutions to companies and individuals alike. “An increasing number of companies have started realising that people that are happy within their working environment will work far more effectively than those who are uncomfortable,” said Himanshu Kumar, MD of Mini Theatres.

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