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Tata Steel ventures into Steel Retailing Launches ‘steeljunction’ : India’s first organised steel retail Outlet

Kolkata, December 13, 2005

With an aim to create new paradigms in steel retailing for the ‘B2C’ consumers, Tata Steel launched a unqiue, retail outlet ‘steeljunction’ today at Kolkata. ‘steeljunction’ was inaugurated by Mr B Muthuraman, Managing Director, Tata Steel along with Dr T Mukherjee, Dy.Managing Director (Steel), Tata Steel for consumers at large. Combining innovation with functionality and versatility with style, ‘ steeljunction’ will provide a ‘one stop destination’ for consumers intending to go ‘steel shopping’.

The site for this pilot project was earlier unveiled by Mr Ratan Tata, Chairman, Tata Steel on 9th August, 2005 and it took 4 months for the team to complete it.

‘steeljunction’, India’s first organized steel retail store, envisions to create a unique organized, retail experience that displays the versatility of steel – from its functionality to its aesthetics. Further it will bring innovation to steel products and make steel buying pleasurable. ‘steeljunction’ is a mid-size, specialty store, which will retail a range of steel oriented products ‘all under one roof’. It will offer shopping experience, better quality of products, greater time and money value to the customer through its comprehensive range, services and in-store facilities. Wide aisles, warm ambience, pleasant sales personnel will welcome the customer. The format will allow families to step in and involve more and more women in the process of buying steel. Well-displayed and stocked shelves, signage, competitive prices will help them browse and choose. New designs and innovative products will engage them. Information, consultancy service and advice will facilitate right selection. Concept kiosks and displays, which showcase the product, will enable them to visualize and promote impulse buying.

The entire range of steel, be it mild steel, alloy steel or stainless steel, will be covered in the product range covering two sections, namely “Home Construction & Maintenance Products” and the “Home Aesthetics Products”. The split level store will house all basic home construction and maintenance products such as construction re-bars, pipes, bath fittings, hand-tools, hardware, wire products, galvanized corrugated roofing sheets etc., on the ground floor. The first floor will house all steel products that add to the aesthetics of a home be it stylized furniture, kitchenware, crockery, cutlery, lifestyle products, stainless steel jewellery, lamps, gift items, wrought iron products and more. Most brands available in this store will be the top end ones in their own category.

Buying steel for one’s home in India has often not been very pleasurable or memorable. The place from where the purchase is made is not always comfortable and may lack credibility. The customer is always worried about the quality of the product, and bargaining is no guarantee that one has got a fair deal. Therefore, purchase of steel items is mostly outsourced to fabricators, masons and other influencer groups. Consumers may end up paying more but that is the “price” of convenience of not having to buy directly. And shopping with the family for steel products is quite unthinkable. However, the boom in real estate coupled by the retail revolution has seen most categories in the home market explore new retail formats and give the end consumer more choice, convenience and comfort.

This will be achieved by understanding consumer needs and help vendors innovate and develop such products. This store will also showcase steel as a material of choice that is environmentally friendly, aesthetically pleasing and functionally resilient. In addition to this, steeljunction has a knowledge center, which will spear head dissemination of information on a wide range of subjects related to steel for a discerning audience. It will also provide a platform to learn and understand buyer needs and behaviour and develop systems and processes that would be shared with retailers and distributors of steel products to help enhance the steel retail environment at large.

‘steeljunction’ is one more innovative approach to make steel a consumer friendly metal by the pioneers of steel making in India, Tata Steel. Constant innovations at Tata Steel have resulted in making the Company one of the lowest cost producers of steel in the world with one of the most modern steel making facilities. The steel company has been successful in ‘de-commoditising’ steel by the introduction of several types of branded steel in the marketplace. Its recent initiatives like the RVM (Retail Value Initiatives) and RCP (Recommended Consumer Prices) based on deeper understanding of the needs of the consumers has paid rich dividends and resulted in strengthening the relationship between them and the Company.