ITC Ltd's greetings, gift and stationery business is expected to break even this fiscal. The four-year old division is targeting a 30 per cent share of the Rs 250-crore greeting cards market, up from 20 per cent last fiscal.
"We are hoping to achieve break-even this year. This SBU (strategic business unit) was created to enter value-added, paper-based products, and over the last four years we have diversified into stationery and paper-based gifting products along with greeting cards," the CEO, ITC Greetings, Gifting and Stationery Business, Mr Chand Das, told Business Line.
He said it was getting increasingly difficult to grow the greeting cards business since the entire sector was in recession. Consumers prefer faster communication methods such as e-mail and SMS compared to sending cards, he said, adding that the company was taking several measures to beat this trend.
"We have taken several measures to beat this downslide. So, ITC entered into paper-based gifting products and even stationery. Both these diversifications are doing well," Mr Das said.
He said the company has just introduced 329 new designs in the Utsav range of Expressions greeting cards for Diwali, with `auspicious new beginnings' being the dominant theme in these cards.
"ITC has introduced a wide range of Diwali cards in its Expressions Greeting Cards Utsav range to help fulfil every need of our consumers to the fullest. These cards cater to all kind of relationships. Utmost care has been taken to come up with a range that stands apart in quality and deliverance of promise..
"Additionally, keeping in mind Diwali, each card strives to add a personal emotional connect between the recipient and the giver," said Mr Das.
The card range uses a mix of traditional motifs such as Lord Ganesh, Goddess Laxmi, kalash, diya and flower rangoli, along with modern patterns. For the first time, all cards above Rs 10 will have envelopes that carry the image of the greeting card inside. The traditional range will offer `uniquely designed' and `rich textured' cards such as the Zari pattern border cards.
The Expressions Utsav range also offers perfumed cards, cards with contemporary designs, keepsake cards, dangler cards and economy cards priced between Rs 3 and Rs 8.
The perfumed cards are made of special board with a hand-made finish and rich gold foiling. The keepsake cards include cards with silver coins, calendars, bookmarks and tabletop frames. The cards with contemporary designs have flowers, hearts and other trendy illustrations.
A new feature of the range are the dangler cards that can be opened and used as decorative items.
The company has decided to announce a `scratch card' promo in the northern and western markets along with the new products. The promo offers bumper prizes such as televisions, refrigerators, microwaves, washing machines, music systems, personal disc-man and DVD players.