Sangeetha gears up for an ‘electrifying’ turn as it forays into EVs

“We already have an electric vehicle showroom in Bengaluru. In a few months from now, we will be selling EVs in Chennai also, using our existing network of retail stores,” said Subhash Chandra, MD, Sangeetha, which is on an expansion spree.
Sangeetha gears up for an ‘electrifying’ turn as it forays into EVs
Subhash Chandra, MD, Sangeetha

CHENNAI: Retailer Sangeetha made the transition from being a gramophone record seller for HMV brand to smartphones in 1997. Now, the 48-year-old brand is upping its ante to drive the shift from mobiles to automobiles.

“We already have an electric vehicle showroom in Bengaluru. In a few months from now, we will be selling EVs in Chennai also, using our existing network of retail stores,” said Subhash Chandra, MD, Sangeetha, which is on an expansion spree.

It plans to take the store count past the 800 mark, from its current 765 showrooms.

The retailer is keen to replicate its success in multi-brand smartphones to the EV space by having multiple brand options as well as dealerships through experience centres. After being well-entrenched in Karnataka, it is also set to enter the Kerala market with its mobile phones, while it seeks to improve business in Andhra, Telangana and Tamil Nadu. It has presence in Goa, Varanasi and Ahmedabad too.

“Our expansion in TN has to gather pace, which contributes about 20 per cent of our Rs 2,200 crore revenues,” said the second-generation entrepreneur, who has over two decades of hands-on experience, as he took to the business as a 17-year-old, vending mobile phones to customers. The business has seen ups and downs with the retailer experiencing a de-growth for the first time in 2015.

“Till that year, we were having a roaring business and we even launched a 30-day price drop protection initiative. We have till date refunded Rs 31 crore so far,” said Subhash. The family-owned business was able to withstand the COVID period, when it grew primarily due to new store expansion.

“We did not stop our expansion as our plan was to add over 100 stores each year,” he said, noting that the high-investment retail business relied solely on internal accruals. Apart from mobile phones, the retailer expanded the product portfolio to include laptops (entered last year), smartwatches, television sets, accessories and personal grooming products. “Price and size matters and now established brands Sony and Samsung are having to make way for newer players such as Realme and Xiaomi,” he said.

Interestingly, the retailer quit the TV business in 2001 after seeing the trend of mobile phones pickup in the consumer electronics landscape. But a sudden boom in flat panels offtake has made Sangeetha re-enter the segment three years ago.

According to Subhash, the Rs 15,000 to Rs 30,000 price point in mobile phones has been seeing good traction and to counter the online onslaught, it has been introducing newer modes of customer engagement. “We were the first mobile retailer to introduce insurance, as a value added services provider.

Likewise, the concept of EMIs for buying mobile phones were also introduced by us,” he said, adding one of the recent moves to attract customers was to provide a smart watch along with a smartphone. The purchases made using cards or EMIs were about 20 pc, while those financed via NBFCs constituted 40 per cent of value. Subhash is also upbeat about the tier II, III locations where the scope for healthy expansion was available.

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