MUMBAI: Big retailers seem to have hit upon a smart way to keep their cash register ringing by attracting customers through catalogue-shopping.

For the first time, Hypercity Retail India Ltd, along with Shoppers’ Stop, has entered into a franchise agreement with the UK-based Home Retail Group, Argos, to offer multi-channel shopping experience to its customers.

Hypercity Retail India would offer this facility under the brand name of Hypercity Argos.

“This unique format of catalogue shopping is definitely suited for metros like Mumbai where retail space is expensive and has been a deterrent for retailers to reach out to a larger consumer base in a cost-effective manner,” Hypercity Retail’s CEO, Andrew Levermore, told media here.

Hypercity Argos’ integrated multi-channel capability encompassing stores, home shopping and the Internet, would provide consumers a new horizon to shopping, he said.

The firm has launched its business with five stores in Thane and would be opening more stores by the end of the first year, Levermore said.

“Convenience is a very important factor and if multi-channel shopping is being made available to a consumer, the initial response would come from the catalogue,” Shoppers’ Stop Managing Director, B S Nagesh, said.

Another retail chain, The Bombay Store, is also planning to provide this facility in the next few months.

“It is too early in India, although internationally it is a well-known concept. It will definitely take-off in the coming years,” Bombay Store Managing Director Asim Dalal said.

While he does not plan to launch catalogue-shopping immediately, he said, “We will be launching it in the next one year,” he said.

However, Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Retail said it had no immediate plans to launch this offering.

“We at Reliance Retail are not planning catalogue- shopping in near future though it is a growing field. Major retailers should do well looking at the stupendous growth patterns,” Reliance Retail Head-Corporate Communications Manu Kapoor said.

Future Group CEO Kishore Biyani said, “We don’t believe in paper catalogues and have no plans to launch it in the near future.”

Though nascent in India, the catalogue shopping segment is huge overseas. The US market is estimated at around $180-billion while the European market is pegged at around Euro 50-billion.

Source : PTI