Dabur India is currently exploring an entry into the consumer retail business, and in all probablity, it would play in the niche area of health and wellness.
"Retail is an opportunity that requires to be studied.We are looking at various options, but have not finalised any plans. But we are sure that we will not be a mainstream retail player, meaning we wouldn't be in food and grocery retailing," Dabur India chief executive officer Sunil Duggal told ET.
Mr Duggal said the company was building retail business models and would see whether these would fit in with the overall business plans of the company. "If we decide to enter the retail business, it will be in the front-end. Our plans will be focused and specialised with health and wellness being the obvious option at the moment. We could make a foray through Dabur India or through a separate company," he said.
The company's top management has begun initial talks on the possibility of being a high -treet retailer in health and wellness. The idea behind the move is that the company would sell its own brands, and also offer a complete portfolio of products catering to the health-conscious urban Indian. This model would be close to the one followed by retailer Boots in the UK. Dabur India is still exploring various formats and working on possible store sizes.
The health and wellness retail business is still at a nascent stage in the country. There are no specialty formats, however, some hypermarket chains like Pantaloon and Piramyd have health and wellness units. These units are currently part of their larger retail shops.
Industry experts say if Dabur ventures into this specialty format, it will have to set up stores measuring close to 2,000-2,500 sq ft. The company may also go in for an arrangement with one of the upcoming multi-brand or hypermarket retail chains. For instance, American photography retail chain Fobaz has entered into a similar arrangement with Reliance Retail.
Specialty retail has been a very successful business model in the West. Some of the industry experts that ET spoke to expect similar success in India as well. However, most of the action on the specialty retail front has been in the consumer durables and electronics segments. The health and wellness segment has been considered a niche segment.
In recent times though, some of the larger Indian corporate houses have shown a keen interest in offbeat specialty retail ventures. There have been recent reports about larger retailers planning exclusive jewellery and other product outlets.
Meanwhile, Dabur India is also planning a foray into the mass-premium skin-care range of products. It is likely to introduce some new brands in this range. At present, the two brands in its stable are Gulabari and Vatika Fairness Face Pack.