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Sweet enterprise

Yusuf Begg | October 17, 2003

Earlier this month she opened a Sweet World kiosk at Delhi's Ansal Plaza and is ready to launch a full-fledged candy store in Gurgaon's Sahara Mall later this month.

Says the Mumbai-based entrepreneur and director of Sweet World: "We've introduced the concept of pick and mix candies. The customer has a choice of over 100 varieties to choose from." The company imports its goodies from leading manufacturers in Europe.

In India, the sweets market is split into two -- hard-boiled sugar confectionery and chocolates. Industry sources say that the size of the chocolate market is about Rs 650 crore (Rs 6.5 billion) and is growing at roughly 11 per cent a year.

The sugar confectionery market, however, is Rs 2,000 crore (Rs 20 billion), of which the organised sector constitutes Rs 1,200 crore (Rs 12 billion). The growth rate is around 7 per cent a year.

"We are not in competition with any of the players as our concept is totally different. We hope to create a different niche in the market rather than infringe on the existing market," explains Rajgriha.

Sweet World's marketing strategy is simple: customers would be urged to choose and mix their bag of candy. There are different colours and flavours of candy that can be mixed. Tastes range from tangy to sour, chocolate-covered candies to liquorice sweets.

The collection also includes marshmallows, gumballs and jellybeans. And all these in the shape of penguins, dolls, fish and crocodiles. The pricing, Rajgarhia feels, is competitive: Rs 50 for 100g.

The company opened its first store in Mumbai, last October and has another one there. Besides Delhi, Sweet World is planning to expand in Bangalore, Kolkata, Chandigarh and Ludhiana.

It has earmarked about Rs 10 crore (Rs 100 million) for expansion over the next couple of years. The 70 new outlets to be set up will include stand alone stores and kiosks. The company is looking at a turnover of Rs 35 crore (Rs 350 million), when all the 70 outlets are operational.

Company officials do not wish to divulge turnover figures saying that the first year was used more for test marketing.

For its expansion plans, Sweet World is looking at opening its own stores rather than set up franchisees.

"We need to check the hygiene and service standards of franchisees before we ink a deal," she says.


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