Tata Steel, the country's largest integrated private sector steelmaker, is set to make a foray into retailing with the launch of a chain of stores. The stores will sell everything in steel, and not just the company's own products. The first of these stores will be in 23,000 sq feet in Kolkata, which will serve as a pilot before the project is rolled out nationally.
While there is no word yet about the launch date or the brand name, O&M Kolkata has been entrusted with the responsibility of branding and communications for this initiative, following a multi-agency pitch last month. The other agencies in the fray included not just JWT and Rediffusion, who handle the other branded products from Tata Steel, but also Bates-141, Lowe and Grey.
"What makes the win really noteworthy is that we pipped so many reputed agencies to the post to win the pitch, keeping up with our trend of staying number one nationally three years in a row," said Sharmista Dev, General Manager O&M Kolkata.
"Steel as a category is normally targeted at a B2B consumer. But Tata Steel's new retail initiative division has decided to make consumers see steel in a new light. Thanks to this pioneering move, they can look forward to a wide array of home improvement products made primarily of steel,' added Dev.
Tata Steel since the late nineties has been focused seriously on branding and currently sells 500,000 tonnes of branded steel products such as Tiscon reinforced construction bars, Shaktee roofing sheets and Tata Pipes. The company's stated objective is to take the contribution of branded products to 50 per cent of its turnover in the next five years.