Ashley eyes open doors for India store expansion

Ashley eyes open doors for India store expansion

Ashley eyes open doors for India store expansion

Ashley Furniture HomeStore — the American store chain retailing Ashley Furniture products — has designed a strong India-centric strategy, with a vision to put up at least 100 stores in the years to come.

Not willing to quote a precise timeline for the realisation of its robust plans, Ashley Furniture HomeStore Vice President (Sales — Asia) Robin Lim said, “Indeed, we have aggressive plans for India. Hopefully, we can hit 100 stores, but have not set a fixed timeline to it.”

He continued: “We are optimistic about this market, and if conditions are right, we may even explore manufacturing facilities in India.”

Hinting at the direction in which Ashley HomeStore would see its plans go through, he said that in three to five years, the company could have over 30 stores in the country.

Arcadia, Wisconsin-headquartered Ashley began its India journey last December, with a 600-sq metre store in Bengaluru, partnering with Dash Square. It opened its second HomeStore — a 1,000-sq metre facility at Pune — in partnership with Ishanya.

Globally, the company’s retail strategy involves a licensing model, wherein licencees with domain and market capabilities are selected, and it is they who invest in store infrastructure and front-end retail operations, while Ashley supplies the inventory.

“Today, we have more than 695 HomeStores across 28 countries, while in terms of retail presence, Ashley Furniture is in more than 123 countries. Except for a few corporate-run stores in the US and China, we are focused on the licence model everywhere,” Lim told DH.

As a global furniture provider, Ashley’s range boasts of a wide price spectrum over an even wider assortment of products, which are spread across six major categories — Vintage Casual, Urbanology, Contemporary, New Traditions, Family Spaces and Grand Elegance. With eight superfactories in the US, and three plants in Vietnam, and one in China, the company is able to serve demand worldwide.

Meanwhile, the company’s global store footprint includes standalone and mall formats, which in total, will hit 700 outlets by the end of this month, following which, it will open its second HomeStore in Bengaluru by April.

With Ashley’s views on expanding in India, Lim asserted that the timing was just right. “It’s booming with an upwardly-mobile middle-class… We design, produce and ship our wares ourselves; so with that in mind, India is a good opportunity,” he said, adding that as a privately-held company, Ashley is agile to implement decisions quickly. “If market conditions allow, and we are able to have 20 stores open in 2017, then that is the path we’d be able to take,” he hinted.