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American furniture brand Ashley hopes to score a century in India

January 16, 2017 12:08 IST

Ashley Furniture Industries, which made a debut in India last month in Bengaluru, planning to open 100 stores in India over the next few years.

American brand Ashley, considered to be among the biggest furniture brands globally, is planning to open 100 stores in India over the next few years.

The company, which made a debut in India last month in Bengaluru, has tied up with Pune-based Deepak Fertiliser for its Ishanya property.

Unlike IKEA, the Swedish multinational group that is setting up outlets in India, Ashley has opted for the licensing route to enter the market.

Wisconsin-based Ashley Furniture Industries is one of the largest manufacturers of furniture in the world with 12 manufacturing facilities, eight of which are in the United States and four in Asia.

Though Ashley came to India about 14 years ago to source products such as furnishings, rugs and dining tables, it is now keen to tap the Indian market.

Globally, it supplies furniture to more than 6,000 retail partners in 123 countries, delivering more than 30 million pieces every year. 

Robin Lim, vice president, sales, Asia, Ashley HomeStore, told Business Standard that the firm had not finalised the timeline for more stores in India.

“It will depend on the capability of our licensees in different cities. We are looking at Kolkata, Delhi, Mumbai and other cities,” he said.

Lim said that the company would offer lifestyles such as Urbanology, Vintage Casual, Traditional, Contemporary and New Traditions in India.

The Pune store, which opened on January 14, will be a major boost to Deepak Fertiliser-owned Ishanya, which is spread over 400,000 square feet of retail space in the Yerawada area.

The Ishanya property has positioned itself as a concept mall for home interiors and design, and has brands like @Home, HomeTown, blueFROG, Bose, Rawat Kitchens, Muslin, Masper, Natural Living, In Living and Accessories.

It also launched an exquisite home lifestyle concept -- Houslife.

According to Mahesh M, chief executive officer, Ishanya, about 60 per cent of the space is for home and interior lifestyle. Another 30-35 per cent is for food and beverages while the remaining space is for the co-working sectors and design education.

“At Ishanya, our theme is to inspire joy of creation in every customer we serve,” he said.

According to Mahesh, Ashley and Ishanya will share sales margins while the management at the front-end and back-end, along with product support and merchandising, will be done by Ashley itself. The sourcing for India would be largely from Ashley’s Vietnam manufacturing facility, said Mahesh.

Lim said the American company entered Asia five years ago and now had a presence in countries such as China, Indonesia and South Korea with over 150 stores.

“Furniture is about five per cent of the total organised retail market in India. We are seeing important trends here. We should be able to provide products, whether from the design, comfort or price point of view,” said Lim.

For Ishanya, the group is aiming to attract customers not just from Pune but adjoining places as well.

“We want to create destination for people from six cities including Mumbai, Satara and Kolhapur. It should have everything for everyone, therefore, we curate our brands,” said Mahesh.

Image used for representational purposes only. Photograph: Lakruwan Wanniarachchi/AFP/Getty Images

Jyoti Mukul