Gitanjali adds 261 stores with focus on smaller towns

Gitanjali Gems has added 42 franchise stores, 24 own stores, 45 modern stores and 150+ shop-in-shops (SIS) via departmental stores and distribution

Gitanjali Gems, the world’s largest integrated jewellery company, has added 261 points of sales (POS) across all of its channels in H1 FY’12. Out of this, 42 franchise stores have been added, 24 own stores, 45 modern stores and 150+ shop-in-shops (SIS) via departmental stores and distribution. The Group has close to 1.7 mn sq ft of retail under its management, of which about 400,000 sq ft has been added in H1 FY’12.

Moreover the penetration has been geographically focused on Tier II and Tier III towns. With rising income in these locations there are significant franchise opportunities available from these towns. As per Choksi, CMD of Gitanjali Group “The opportunity of expansion via franchise route in smaller towns offers added advantage of supply chain management, push of sales by the franchise as owner and better economics for both the company and franchise partners”

With transformations from product brands to retail brands, the retail expansion also brings in opportunity for category and product innovation. Increasing retail stores requires mix of gold and diamond jewellery giving boost to company’s gold jewellery collection. All of its key brands like Gili, Nakshatra, Asmi, D’Damas, Sangini, Diya, Maya, have come up with gold collections to compliment its diamond jewellery. The demand for gold jewellery is second tier towns are strong and growing, thanks to increasing affluence and preference for branded jewellery.

Choksi further added that “jewellery industry is transforming from commodity to service driven, branded jewellery will the new trusted source of buying behaviour from consumers. There are immense opportunities available for branded player like us to lead through this transformation.”

The key brands of the group have mapped their respective expansion strategy via, formats, categories, channel, geography and type of stores. Gitanjali has also appointed globally renowned design agency FITCH to makeover their visual merchandising and store designing. To support its retail expansion the group has also launched complimentary brands like Parineeta, ME Solitaire, Gold Souk and others. Further, there are collections available which completes the story behind every brand. There are about 20 different formats available at Gitanjali depending on the retail architecture.

In the morning, Gitanjali Gems was trading at around Rs361.50 per share on the Bombay Stock Exchange, 0.39% up from the previous close.

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Infosys to increase workforce in Singapore

IT major Infosys plans to add 600 employees to its Singapore operations

IT major Infosys plans to add 600 employees to its Singapore operations to take advantage of the shift in investments from the United States and Europe to Asia.

Infosys, which currently has a headcount of 650 in Singapore, will also build a research and development lab over the next six months, the first outside India.

“A significant amount of investments will be diverted to Asia and Singapore as there is no growth in the US and Europe,” Infosys Director, Ashok Vemuri, said.

The Singapore expansion would involve an additional $10-15 million in capital expenses and wages, said Vemuri, who heads Infosys’ Americas division.

Vemuri, who was in Singapore to attend the inauguration of an Infosys development centre said: “We want to create and own intellectual property and build transformational projects for our clients.”

Infosys, which has been present in Singapore for seven years, aims to lead the market in providing services to banks and financial institutions that are setting up offices in Singapore to manage their Asian businesses.

In the morning, Infosys was trading at around Rs2696.15 per share on the Bombay Stock Exchange, 1.14% down from the previous close.

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Care for special Children

Shukti Sarma visits an NGO which caters for children with special needs who require constant care away from home

Sangopan in Sanskrit means upbringing of children, a task performed by parents/guardians of a child. Sangopita, derived from this Sanskrit term, is an NGO in Thane district, on the outskirts of Mumbai. The NGO runs a day-care centre and a residential school for children with special needs—both mental and physical. Besides taking care of children, Sangopita is also a place where parents of children with similar challenges bond and share their experiences.

Ravindra Sugwekar, an employee of Punjab National Bank (Fort, south Mumbai) founded Sangopita eight years back so that his son could have the required treatment for cerebral palsy close to home. “My wife used to take our son to a centre in Bandra (west Mumbai) everyday and again near Haji Ali (south Mumbai) for physiotherapy. It was fine as long as he was young, but how could I carry him when he grew older? He needed something closer, and even we needed some relief,” says Mr Sugwekar.

Mr Sugwekar and some affected parents and doctors got together and conducted a survey. They found 189 children in their locality at that time, who had some form of disability. “When we talked to the parents, they were in despair,” says Mr Sugwekar. “To care for a special child, to look after it 24x7, is stressful for parents, especially for mothers. While the parents showed interest, they did not have hope for much improvement.” With some financial help from his colleagues and a local industrialist Vinayak Ullengal, Mr Sugwekar started Sangopita with two children. From a single, multipurpose hall, Sangopita grew, mainly due to Mr Ullengal’s perseverance who arranged for funds through his contacts. Today, there are 43 children in the residential school and 33 in the day-care centre.

“Parents began to send their children when they came to know about our work from doctors and other affected parents. We even have kids from Indore and Delhi now; we also have adults aged 45 years at our centre,” Mr Sugwekar says.
Children who require constant care and cannot be looked after at home stay in the residential school. The day-care centre caters for those who need help in learning and peforming everyday tasks. Regular classes for vocational training are held.
Children at the day-care centre are now so keen to learn that they want to come even during weekends. “We have 18 care-providers and seven teachers,” says
Mr Sugwekar. “Psychiatrists, speech therapists, physiotherapists and other professionals visit periodically. Every month, we also have counselling for parents.” Local doctors have been helpful and also make room for Sangopita’s children in their hospitals. The Sangopita team interacts with other special schools in Mumbai and ADAPT (formerly called The Spastics Society of India) which works for helping spastics.

Thanks to their efforts, several children now have better lives. Like Avantika, whom the police found on the streets of Nanded (Maharashtra) three years ago. Since she was mentally challenged, they handed her over to Sangopita. “She was in poor health; could not stand erect; had frequent fits, had no toilet training and was aloof. Within six months, she started showing improvement. Now, Avantika is nine years old and you can’t even tell that she has any problem. She can even walk short distances,” smiles Mr Sugwekar. Being far from Mumbai and not associated with any political or religious institution, funds are difficult to garner.
Equally difficult is getting professionals and volunteers prepared to work at a reduced salary. Mr Sugwekar plans to start a dairy farm which will help them finance the NGO as well as provide milk for children, many of whom come from poor families and cannot even pay the monthly fees for the treatment. “The shed for animals is there, but we need money for buying milch cattle,” he says. All donations to Sangopita are exempt under section 80(G) of the Income-Tax Act.

Sangopita

Om Sai Prasad
Opposite Chinar Hotel
Karjat Road, Kulgaon Badlapur (E)
Thane 421 503
Tel: 0251-2694989
www.sangopita.org
[email protected]

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