Mumbai: Retail chain The Mobile Store is betting big on its 'lounge' format to ramp up smartphone volumes and is looking at 150 such outlets in the next one year.
The Essar Group company will convert about 100 of its existing stores into lounges, while adding about 50 stores across top eight cities.
"We have about 750 stores currently and will convert 100 of these into the lounge format. In the next 10-12 months, we will see these lounges coming up across the top eight cities," Chief Executive Himanshu Chakrawarti said.
He said the company will be adding 50 new lounges besides converting some of the existing outlets, adding that the company will invest about Rs 50 crore for this.
"We are looking at investments of about Rs 40-50 crore in the lounge format... We are looking at private equity as well to fund some part of the expansion. It will be a mix of internal accruals and external funds," Chakrawarti said.
According to a CyberMedia Research report, smartphones accounted for 9.4 percent of mobile phone sales in the country in the January-April period as against 2.8 percent in the year-ago period. Feature phones, on the other hand, grew 10.3 percent during the reported period.
Total handset market is estimated to be worth Rs 36,000 crore.
The Mobile Store is also focussing on strengthening its online presence. "Even a year back, sales from our website was insignificant. We have seen strong traction in online sales and it is already 2-3 percent of our sales. We are confident that it will only grow further," he said.
First Published: Sunday, September 22, 2013, 15:40