Tata to Leverage on the Indian Interiors

The Tatas’ latest joint venture, Casa Décor, is poised to infuse India’s luxury interiors segment with distinctive Italian style. Casa Décor has recently started operations in India to bring a distinctive Italian design flavour into the Indian luxury interiors segment. Set up as a joint venture between the Tatas and the Poltrona Frau Group, a leader in the global high-end furniture market, Casa Décor is positioned as a full-service provider of premium interiors for a wide range of projects and retail clients.

Leveraging Poltrona Frau’s expertise in distinctive interior design and premium interior furnishings that epitomise luxury and a classy lifestyle, Casa Décor will offer a wide range of premium furniture, fit-outs and superlative design services for creating luxurious interiors in private residences, offices and the hospitality sector. Casa Décor offers the complete bouquet of iconic brands such as Poltrona Frau, Cassina, Cappellini, Alias, Gebruder-Thonet Vienna, Gufram and Nemo (lighting solutions).

Hafele India Opens Design Studio in Chennai

Hafele India opened its first Exclusive Design Studio in Chennai. It’s innovative concept of setting up Design Studios has provided an avenue for the company to showcase part of its entire range of products (over 1,50,000 in number). Located in the bustling retail hub of T Nagar, Chennai, the new studio is a visual testimony to Häfele’s quality, craftsmanship, diversity of designs and the finer objects of life.

The studio is set in a manner to help customers browse and buy in a leisurely manner with technical advice from Häfele trained experts. Häfele believes in providing its customers the widest choice of fittings, tailor-made design services, installation support, free training and a product Lifetime Warranty.

Housing Sector Gets A Boost From Government

The beginning of August showed positive results for India’s realty sector. Incentives to the building industry, extended tax breaks for realtors by three years and offered home subsidies on the interest on loans up to Rp.1 million per year provided the purchase price of the home is not more than Rp.2 million. The government earmarked about Rp.10 billion for these provisions, which are expected to offer benefits to low and middle-income families.

The Ministry also proposed an amendment to the Income Tax Act, whereby profits from housing projects approved by a local authority between 1 April 2007 and 31 March 2008 would be tax free if completed by 31 March 2012. The measures announced by the government have been well-received by the construction industry and are expected to give a boost to woodworking industries as well. Plywood alone accounts for 78% of the wood panel market in India, with the rest being composed of engineered panels such as MDF and particleboard. For the housing interiors industry, the Indian market is still dominated by plywood and blockboard.

India is a net importer of furniture. Small quantities of furniture are being exported representing not more than 0.25% of the global furniture industry. At present, the furniture sector is predominantly in the hands of unorganized small units. Fortunately, large corporate houses have started taking interest in production of modern furniture and prominent names like Godrej and Wipro have entered the furniture manufacturing business.

Corporate results for 2008-2009 have shown positive growth for most companies, including plywood and woodworking producers. The overwhelming consumer needs from urban and rural areas have sustained demand for tropical hardwoods like balau, merbau, and keruing from Malaysia and Myanmar and also teak from Myanmar, Tanzania, Nigeria, Ghana and Central American and South American countries. However, the Sabah state government in Malaysia has restricted log and sawn exports to India. This will make prices of logs suitable for the plywood industry more competitive. India substantially depends on imported hardwoods like gurjan and keruing for plywood faces. Other than face veneers for core material, Indian factories are able to get local hardwoods from agroforestry and plantations in the country.

India’s forest cover stands at 23.6% of the total geographical area. Sustained efforts by the government and the local community are improving the forest cover. It is estimated that by the end of 2010 total forest cover could reach 25% and 30% by the end of 2012. The Indian government also has set a long-term target of increasing the country’s forest cover to 33%.

Kurlon Looks To Up Growth Through Furniture

Kurlon Ltd, a Bangalore-based mattresses firm is foraying into the Rs 13,000 crore home, kitchen and office furniture segment. The company as part of its diversification strategy has set up a 60:40 joint venture with a family-owned little known Italian firm - Cesare, to manufacture Italian designed sofas in India. Kurlon is looking to enter kitchen and office segment during next year.

The company has set up a manufacturing plant at an investment of around Rs 12 crore near Bangalore with an installed capacity of 120,000 sofa sets per annum. The product range will be first introduced in India and will be exported back to Italy later this year. Kurlon claimed that it is looking at sales of Rs 240 crore in two years time by being present at modern retail outlets in addition to its showrooms.

The company, which reported a growth of 15 per cent in its turnover at Rs 385 crore in 2008-09, is looking at a growth of 30 per cent in 2009-10 with these diversifications.

Kurlon is embarking on a multi-pronged strategy to expand its market. The company, which currently sells through a network of 5,000 retail shops, aims to double the network size in the next two to three years.

It plans to tie up with shops in Tier-III and Tier-IV cities and towns. Secondly, it aims to launch mattresses for as low as Rs 600 and as high as Rs 169,000.


VIA's Endeavor To Convert Nagpur Into A Modular Furniture Hub

Vidarbha Industries Association (VIA) has chalked out plans to make the city a modular furniture hub. The city has surpassed Bangalore to become the biggest producer of modular furniture in India.

VIA president Pravin Tapadia said that at present there were twelve units producing modular furniture in and around the city. However, all of them were small scale units. Modular furniture was becoming popular day by day and the Orange city was best suited to capitalize on this boom. Currently, huge consignments of modular furniture are being imported from China and Malaysia as local supply was deficient as compared to the demand.

Secondly, many items like wooden floors, aluminum false ceiling and machine made sofa sets were just not manufactured in India even though there was a huge demand for it.

Global Designers To Style Wipro’s Furniture Range

The premium furniture market in India, dominated by global brands like Herman Miller, Steelcase and Haworth, is set to see an Indian company, in the form of Wipro, aggressively trying to find a space in this segment by roping in international designers.

During the last couple of months, the company roped in international designers including Eric Chan and Tim Wallace to cater to the Indian customers who want international range of products. While the company has already launched the Startline range of products designed by London-based Tim Wallace, the company is planning to launch premium chairs designed by Eric Chan, a New York-based designer, in the next couple of months.

The modular furniture market in India, estimated to be about Rs 600 crore, is dominated by bigger players like Godrej and BP (earlier Blow Plast). The market size of the international range of premium furniture is estimated to be worth about Rs 70 crore, and is primarily catered to by foreign players.

Presently, the company’s range of office furniture is being designed by designers from the National Institute of Design. Vineet Agrawal, president of Wipro Consumer Care and Lighting, said though the look and feel of the premium ranges would be the same as any international brands, the customers could get a cost advantage up to 30 per cent over the international products, based on the configuration.

Wipro entered the furniture segment almost four years ago. The furniture and lighting segment combined contribute close to 18 per cent of the revenues of Wipro Consumer Care and Lighting. Wipro Consumer Care and Lighting business grew 7 per cent to Rs 546 crore in the quarter ended June 30, 2009.

Agrawal said, the company was importing the central beam required for its Startline furniture range from an Austrian firm. Presently, the company manufactures the premium range of furniture designed by international designers at its Aurangabad plant. The chairs are being manufactured at its plant in Chennai.

Consumer Care and Lighting business accounted for about 9 per cent of Wipro’s overall revenue of Rs 6,274 crore during the quarter.

Ebony Gautier to invest Rs 120 cr to set up 20 stores

Ebony Homes, the home furniture retail arm of the $3 billion DS Constructions, has plans to invest Rs 120 crore to set up a chain of 20-25 furniture stores styled Ebony Gautier across the country by March 2012.

"In the first phase, we plan to expand operations in the north and the south, setting up around 10-12 stores in the next one year. We will hit the west and the east the following year with another 8-10 stores," said Ebony Homes CEO, K.A Parameswaran.

The company has an exclusive distribution agreement with French furniture major, Gautier, in India and the Saarc countries. In three years time, it will look at exploring these markets too, he added. It currently operates two stores in the NCR, one each at Noida and Gurgaon.

This is Gautier’s second innings in India, the first being its tie-up with the KK Birla group. The license to use the Gautier brand name ended in 2003 and the Birla entity renamed itself Style Spa. In its earlier avtaar, furniture was manufactured in India and the French company had lent its Gautier brand. In its current agreement with Ebony, the entire product range is manufactured in France and exported to India.

The total home furniture market in India is estimated at Rs 20,000 crore, of which around 15% is in the organized segment. A number of retail majors have their presence in this segment, including Home Town and Home Bazaar of the Future Group, @ Home by Nilkamal, KK Birla Group’s Style Spa, Godrej’s Lifespace and Home Stop from Shopper’s Stop.

Most of these players are in the home solutions segment, offering a range of products for the house — from furniture and furnishings to kitchen units and home appliances. Ebony Gautier plans to limit itself to the furniture segment along with some furnishings to complement its products.

While work has begun for its Chennai and Bangalore stores and would be operational by mid-August, it is close to finalizing the location at Hyderabad. The store size would average around 15,000 sq ft. Two more stores in Delhi are on the anvil and the company is scouting for properties at Lucknow, Jaipur, Kochi, Coimbatore and Visakhapatnam, Mr Parameswaran said.

It is also in the process of setting up a 20,000 sq ft warehousing facility in Chennai. "Chennai would be our southern hub. Being a port city, we can directly import our furniture from this port, instead of routing it through Mumbai," Mr Parameswaran said. For the north, it already has a warehouse of similar size in Delhi.

Ikea Drops its $1bn Investment Plan

The iconic $31-billion Scandinavian home products giant, IKEA, has put on hold its plans to set up 25 showrooms across the country for an investment of around $ 1 billion. In an internal communication this week, IKEA told its stakeholders that Indian investment rules do not encourage it to go ahead with its investment plans — at least not in the near future.

The country’s norms on foreign investments in retail stipulate that the foreign company can hold no more than a 51% stake and must have an Indian partner. As IKEA’s distinctive showrooms are like sprawling malls, with flat pack furniture, accessories, bathroom and kitchen items, they require high investment. And IKEA has so far been unable to find an Indian partner with not just deep pockets but readiness to invest a matching amount in a joint venture.

It’s learnt that IKEA was hopeful of the rules being relaxed by the new government, but was jolted by Pratibha Patil’s silence on the issue in her presidential address that outlined the UPA government’s agenda. It may have lost heart completely when commerce minister Anand Sharma said that FDI norms are not likely to be changed in the near future, and decided to opt out of India.

However, the officials believe that India as a market can’t be ignored by IKEA indefinitely. “In a few years we are bound to reconsider our decision,” they said.

IKEA had planned its first showroom near Dwarka, at a location that’s between Delhi and Gurgaon. It had also hired 25-30 people for this venture. IKEA has been sourcing many materials from India and employs around 11,000 in this operation, while it claims to be indirectly employing another 60,000. This outsourcing business is estimated at around Rs 1,900 crore.

India’s retail market is estimated at over $350 billion, with organized retail accounting for 5% of it. An Indian economic think-tank optimistically projected early last year that the market size could grow to $590 billion by 2012 and organized retail could be a meatier 16% of that market. The economic downturn might have since dampened these projections.

Hindware Joins Hands with HDFC and ICICI Bank for Evok Chain

Hindware Home Retail stated that it has joined hands with HDFC Bank and ICICI Bank so that clients do not need to pay interest on credit card usage at its home fashion retail range, Evok stores.

This proposal has been initiated to mark the 1st anniversary of the retail chain’s commencement and clients could utilize it on the company’s series of modular kitchens, home furniture and bath goods.

According to the proposal, consumers using credit cards for buying at Evok stores would now no longer need to pay interest on the credit.

Hindware Home Retail had begun the Evok range last year with a couple of years 30,000 square feet mega-stores in Delhi NCR. The firm had also declared strategies to devote Rs.250 crore to start a sum of 50 such stores all over India by 2012-13.

Rockworth Furniture Sets Up Manufacturing Facility near Chennai

Rockworth Systems Furniture (India) Pvt. Ltd., a joint venture between Dubai-based Al Reyami Group and Thailand-based Rockworth Public Company Limited, will set up its first manufacturing facility in India at Sri City SEZ, a multi-product special economic zone.

Rockworth Systems has already initialled a memorandum of understanding with Sri City SEZ in this regard.

Rockworth Systems is expected to invest close to Rs. 80 crore in the proposed Indian facility and will employ over 300 people in the first phase. This number is expected to double in the next two years. "We expect to commence production from April 2010," said Sheikh Al Reyami, Chairman, Rockworth Systems Furniture (India) Pvt. Ltd.

Urban Decor Launches India’s First Online Furniture Store

Urban Decor launches India's first online furniture store. The enterprise features the most contemporary innovative designs of modern furniture, contemporary lighting, accessories, art, & eco-friendly products for the home and office.

Speaking at its launch, the founder and CEO Mr. Srikanth Bandla said that - " Urban Decor aims at bringing in cutting edge, modern designer furniture for home and office from across the globe direct from the factories to your doorstep across India, at prices almost 30-40% less than retail. We bring you near wholesale prices by eliminating unnecessary costs that retail stores must compensate for by charging higher prices. Retailers pay Rs 100 to Rs 500 per square foot a month depending on their location which translates into 400% - 600% markups. Our warehouses cost a fraction & since we will be open to the public by appointment, utilities are low too. With expenses at a fraction of retailers', we manage to deliver better value. The price you pay is for the actual items, not extravagant displays and expenses. The designs will also be available shortly through a network of resellers in all major cities across the country."

 The online store has an assortment of furniture including designer beds, solidwood handcrafted beds & exotic wicker furniture from Southeast Asia, modern sofa beds by Innovation, Denmark, timeless modern classics by European designers, eye-catching clocks by Nextime, Award winning handy multi-tools by Leatherman, USA and some quirky, funny unique designer gifts by UK designers, J-Me & SUCK UK.

Kartarpur Furniture Industry Slowing Down

Import of Chinese goods and growing popularity of wrought iron furniture has influenced immensely the age old furniture industry in Kartarpur.

People engaged in this business now witnessing losses and mass unemployment. Even those with generations of experience in this business are talking increasingly about "other options".

Most of the carvers who had enriched this traditional craft hail from the Uttar Pradesh's Saharanpur district and after the partition they conferred it in the hands of Sikhs as a souvenir to keep the tradition alive.

The furniture has Mehrab, jail and grapevine motifs. Be it a chair, a bed, a sofa or a dining table, the furniture is made of pure sheesham, teakwood or Sagwan. Kartarpur furniture's unique selling point is its durability.

At present 60 per cent of this region's population is employed in various branches of wood furniture manufacture.

Delhiwood 2009- a meeting ground to find out new possibilities

Pragati Maidan is going to be the witness of another instance of the progressive economy of India while the organizers of Indiawood - Asia’s Largest Sourcing Ground for Woodworking Machinery, Tools, Accessories, Raw Materials and Products will be organizing the Delhiwood 2009 between 12th to 15th February, 2009

Keeping in pace with the booming timber industry, Delhiwood is designed in a way so that the manufacturers, saw millers, decorators, architects and builders and craftsmen get maximum benefit out of it. The fair will showcase CNC machines, accessories and tools from all over the world and this will help the Indian Timber Industry from North to South, and East to West.  Growing interest in the business results in the active participation of several organizations and institutions both Indian and international.

Indian research organizations such as Institute of Wood Science and Technology, Cane and Bamboo Technology Center, Indian Plywood Industries Research and Training Institute are taking part in the fair heralding the possible upsurge in the technical study concerning the wood and panel in India.

Among the international participants of the fair there will be Manufacturers of Machines and Accessories Association of Austria, Chez Republic, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Slovak Republic, Spain, Switzerland and Taiwan. This will be helpful to expand the business for the smaller units in India. The fair is anticipated to enrich the researchers in the field. Government officials and Forestry officials will also take interest in participating in the mega event.

                                      Mumbai will pay high this Diwali for furniture

Price hike in the Indian plywood industry has resulted the 20-30 %. rise in furniture price. The plywood that cost Rs.94per square feet during the June-July season is selling at a price of Rs 118-120 these days.

The shrink in the supply of wood is the primary reason behind the price hike. The supply of rubber wood and silver oak originated from southern India has declined by 40 per cent.

Mumbai imports wood from Myanmar and African nations worth Rs.70-100 crore per year. Rupee depreciation and dollar appreciation has made the import costlier, which adds to the reasons of the furniture price hike.

Diwali is the peak time for doing the interiors and furniture buying for many families; this abrupt price hike will damage the business to a great extent.

                               Medilite offers hi-tech furniture for Indian hospitals

Medilite, the renowned hospital furniture manufacturer, has designed a new range of hi-tech furniture that is unique in it. This advanced system will attach all the furniture with doctor’s laptop and thus he/she can control the furniture of the patients.

The company has used wireless technology for the new system. According to the company they have been working long for this project so that they can make it technically perfect.

                            Greenply-setting examples for low emission products

One of the biggest names in India’s timber industry- Greenply has bagged the Greenguard Environmental Institute’s Greenguard certificate and greenguard children and school certificate. This prestigious award has made the company extremely proud as no company so far have had ever been able to win the award outside U.S. This award has enabled the company to get enlisted with the elite group consisting the names Arborite (Canada), Formica Corporation (US), Lamin-Art (US), Nevamar (US), Panolam Industries International Inc (US) and Wilsonart Industries (US). The JMD, Greenply Industries ltd, Mr. Saurabh Mittal, expressed gratitude on receiving the award and said that the company is extremely proud and pleased as it has put India on the International map for non-emitting production. Professionals as well as homeowners will be pleased to know that the product they are buying from Greenply is free from harmful pollutants. Being one of the leading companies in India Greenply will certainly be the example for other manufacturers and companies to follow.

                                              Kurl-on to enter the furniture industry

The master in mattress making, the kurl-on group, has now planned to step into the domain of retailing and home furnishing. They will be promoting the retail venture under the flagship ’kurl-on Nest’. According to the company they want to move from ‘sleep comfort to home comfort’ business. They are expected to hit the bazaar either by this year or early next year.
To take the retail concept further, kurl-on has tied up with all the major retailing centers in India including Reliance, Shopper’s Stop and Neelkamal.
For the furniture retailing, the company, besides contract manufacturing, will concentrate on sourcing furniture.
Kurl-on is about to launch a new premium range also for its mattress business. The range will include a spine-care range and will be priced from Rs 5,000 to Rs 60,000. However, the company is worried about its cheap imitations, which is a major concern for its business and looking forward to do away with it.

                                      Cucine Lube to remodel the Indian kitchen

Italy’s leading kitchen manufacturers Cucine Lube is about to enter the Indian ‘rasoi’. With three studios in Delhi and Punjab, Lube has decided to infiltrate the north-Indian market.

Though in India, the term ‘kitchen aesthetics’ is not yet prevalent, with Cucine Lube, however, the scenario is estimated to change. Cucine Lube studio offers a comprehensive choice of materials, styles, designs, accessories, and combinations; and they are offering the modular kitchen at 5lakhs onwards.

Lube India is planning to open 9 more stores in other metros and mini metros across the country. This UNI EN ISO 9001:1994 certified company has the capacity for constructing over 60,000 standard compositions a year, using the latest and best technology and certified ecological panels.



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