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ITC cards eyes Rs 100 cr turnover
Business Standard - 10 Dec 2003

The greeting cards division of the Kolkata-based ITC is aiming a three-fold increase in its turnover to Rs 100 crore in two years from the current Rs 30 crore. As part of its expansion, the company has forayed into the stationery business under the Classmate and Paperkraft brand of notebooks.

Chand Das, chief executive officer, ITC greeting cards business said, "We have recently forayed into the stationery (notebooks) business, thus moving up the value chain. We expect a major increase in growth to come from this business."

The stationery (notebooks) segment is largely unorganised and dominated by regional players. The size of the market is estimated to be around Rs 500 crore and is growing at 10 per cent. The peak season for the business is between February and July, where 70-80 per cent of the business takes place.

The Classmate brand is targeted at school children, while Paperkraft is targeted at executives and college students.

ITC, the cigarettes-to-hotels company, ventured into greeting cards, exploiting the growth opportunity by levering the group’s core skills such as paper and paperboard, printing, packaging and distribution. ITC entered the segment in September 2000 with its Expressions brand. Das claimed that Expressions has become the second largest brand in the Rs 250 crore greeting card market. The Delhi-based Archies continues to be the leader in the category. The market has remained static over the last two years, this is because of the rise of internet (e-greetings) and mobile services (Short messaging services).

For ITC, the growth has come from outside the metros because of its strong retail and distribution network, launching of occasion-based cards and cards in regional languages, Chand said.