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Our Vision - BaselWorld 2018

Time and Tide

SEIKO

IN CONVERSATION WITH NILADRI MAZUMDER


How has the last year been for Seiko?

Well, we have been saddled with three rounds of changes! In July 2017, there was the implementation of the GST. The import duty announced later also hit us. Yet, overall we have had a double digit growth. What has worked for us is that we have concentrated on some key ranges. The Presage range which we got in last year, has worked well. The pricing is great for this market. It forms 8% of our total sales. This year, we intend to take it beyond 10-15%. Another category we wish to talk about is the High-end mechanical watch segment. We have had success in that category as well. Grand Seiko has also made decent progress. We have launched it as a separate brand. We have found that one-to-one contact with the end customer for the Grand Seiko works well for us. Our high-end watches, which we earlier had trepidation about, are actually doing quite well. Our boutiques are doing well. We have six boutiques and one mini-store.

How have the import duties in India impacted sales?

They have not impacted sales per se since we have our prices at par with the rest of the world. But yes, it does impact our bottom-line.

What role does the digital space play?

Digital works very well. In fact, we use it to reach out to our target customers. Regarding our premium range, we don’t e-retail this range. However, we are official partners with Amazon for some collections. Our clocks are a fantastic success online. I think this is because people see watches in stores, but don’t really look for clocks in stores.

Can you talk about the performance of Seiko in the clocks category?

Though we do display our clocks in stores, they are doing great online as well. In that category, we don’t have much competition. We have sold more clocks than watches this year. Gifting and institutional sales form an important part for the clocks.

What are the changes that you would like to see in the Indian watch industry?

Lesser taxes for sure! We were very positive when the GST was reduced to 18%. But, the import duty imposed has led to a situation where this extra cost is passed on to the end consumer. We are disheartened. Other than that, we need quality retail points. The brands and products are all there, but we need more retail options. There are many companies who can have good retail chains. A great example is Titan’s Helios stores that are doing quite well. Of course, online is also doing well. One of the reasons for this is discounts. This is not healthy but it will keep going on for a few years.

The complete interview is in Hours & Minutes on pg no. 10 in the BaselWorld 2018 - A Special Report.