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MRF's subsidiary enters retail space

The company launched two new products in July this year and has lined up several more in the next six months

BS Reporter  |  Chennai 

Funskool India Ltd, a joint venture between Indian tyre giant MRF, and Hasbro, Inc., today opened its first branded retail outlet in Chennai. The company said that this is more of a pilot launch and based on its success, it will look at other metros including Mumbai and Delhi.

The new shop, which was opened today at Chennai is an exclusive for Lego, one of the brands of which Funskool in India. The 1,300 square feet shop at Chennai located at Phonenix mall in Chennai, is a franchisee model.

Arun Mammen, chairman, Funskool India Ltd, said this will be the first venture in retailing based on the learning we will look at other markets, which will not only showcase Funskool but also other global brands which we represent and our own brands.

The company, which has been in the business for over 25 years, has reported a growth of 20-25 per cent and has set a target of around Rs 120 crore, said R Jeswant, vice president — sales and marketing, Funskool (India) Ltd. Lego accounts for 15 per cent to 16 per cent of Funskool’s turnover in India and Funskool is planning to close its book with Rs 120 in turnover this year, he said. The company had begun distributing the Lego range in India from 2010 and presently has 250 multi brand retail stores across India, presently showcasing the Lego range.

“While we will continue to focus on promoting our partners’ brands, we will also look to promote our own brands,” he said.

The company, which started focussing on its own brand in the last 12-18 months, launched two new products in July this year and has lined up several more in the next six months, said K John Baby, chief executive officer. He declined to elaborate on the future plans, including investment, new products and others. The company has said it is also strengthening its own in-house portfolio that includes Giggles, targeted at infants and the pre-school segment, and Handycrafts which include a wide range of activity kits.

“We dont want to be a retailer and we are not here to compete with any retail brand. We want to be a manufacturer and this retail initiative is to showcase our products,” he said. The company has got two manufacturing facilities, including one at Ranipet, near Chennai and one in Goa. The two plants caters to both domestic and export markets, including the UK and other neighbouring markets.

He noted that the company has got enough opportunities in the country, considering the penetration of toys is one of the lowest in the world. The estimated market of the toy market in India is around Rs 2,000 crore, including unorganised market.

First Published: Sun, August 11 2013. 20:38 IST
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