BUSINESS

Whirlpool to expand distribution network in South

CHENNAI JAN. 3. The southern region of Whirlpool of India is planning to expand its distribution to second and third class towns with a view to maintaining its dominant share in direct cool refrigerators and front load washing machines and double the share in large frost-free refrigerators.

The company has drawn up a unique small town mela in B and C class towns to reach out to the rural markets.

Manu Ahuja, General Manager (southern region), told The Hindu that the company was already present in more than 400 towns across the South. In the just concluded year Whirlpool was the number one brand in the South for refrigerators and washers and gained three per cent share points over the previous year, Mr. Ahuja said.

The growth was more than 50 per cent in large frost-free refrigerators while the company had doubled its microwave oven business.

The southern region contributed more than Rs. 300 crores to the overall turnover of Rs.1,000 crores in 2002, he said. As of October last year this region commanded 33 per cent and 24 per cent market shares in direct cool and frost-free refrigerators respectively while fully automatic and semi automatic washers contributed 23 per cent and 22 per cent respectively.

Even with the industry witnessing a flat trend in growth in refrigerators and a negative growth in washing machines, Whirlpool of India could report a positive growth in these segments and the overall growth was 15 per cent in the year ended December 2002, Mr. Ahuja said.

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