For the US-based premium sanitaryware brand Kohler Co, India remains one of its three most strategic markets, despite the slowdown, said David Kohler, President and CEO, Kohler Co.
Ïndia does have very strong, long term potential and it’s demonstrating that year-by-year with one of the highest GDP growth rates in the world. And the country is making progress. So to me this is a very different market than other markets in the world... So there’s a there’s a positive dynamic here,” David said in an interview with BusinessLine.
Kohler India is planning to double its retail presence in the next three years, with a focus on the top cities. “We have a network of about 500 showrooms in the country today, and we’re interested in really continuing to rapidly expand that, in tier one and tier two cities,” David said.
For Kohler, India is among one of the most interesting and creative markets it serves anywhere in the world, and the company is focussed on the long-term potential here. It launched its second Kohler Experience Centre (KEC) in the country in Mumbai on Friday, with plans to open one more in Bengaluru soon. The first KEC is in Delhi. With only around ten KECs globally, India will be the first to have three KECs, he said, emphasising the importance of the Indian market.
KECs, unlike regular outlets, are not designed like display centres or showrooms, but are “inspiration zones” sprawled over 16,000 sq ft, meant more for customer engagement than sales.
Kohler has also launched several new product categories in the country like grooming solutions inside bathrooms, water filtration and bathroom furniture and mirrors.
When asked about the consumption slowdown in India, David said “We think, in kind of every major market or in India, there will be ups and downs and in a high growth market like this, you are going to have some volatility here and there and you’ll go through shorter term cycles, but that really doesn’t make a difference to us, because we’re focussed on the long-term.
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