12 images iNDIA SHOP design march–april 2013
FIXTURES Q&A with Abid Vakil
How is the fixturing industry shaping up in India,
say from 5 years ago?
It started ‘evolving’ about 5 years ago, had a good
acceptance, then, unfortunately recession set in,
but eventually the industry made a comeback. The
demand in the market is for specialist products, based
on specifications from client in addition to standard
products. With FDI coming in the industry would
certainly be in a more aggressive mode. However, a lot
of volume has shifted to China as pricing has become
a crucial part in selection of fixtures and eventually
What is the trend in store fixtures?
For food/grocery supermarkets, hypermarkets, etc,
the trend in fixtures is roughly the same as before.
Metal fixtures are used mostly. However, because of
compressed margins, etc, clients want value for money
and prefer Chinese shelving. For fixtures other than
shelving like tables, etc, Indian companies supply the
fixtures. For lifestyle segments, clients want to buy
customised fixtures as per their designs and Indian
companies supply most of the time for roll outs.
A new trend that is emerging is of refurbishing.
Here, instead of replacing their old fixtures with new
ones, many retailers prefer to refurbish the existing
ones. Though this is mainly to save cost, the retailer
should factor in the cost of dismantling the fixtures,
the cost of the logistics involved in sending the
fixtures to the unit for polishing, etc, bringing them
and reinstalling them. Not to forget the business hours
lost when the store or the particular section has to
be closed till the fixtures are reinstalled. While good
quality fixtures can last as long as 15 years without
requiring maintenance, others could last for only 3-4
years. Since retailers are realising the importance of
keeping their stores spruced up in order to attract
customers, it may prove to be more expensive to
refurbish the fixtures every few years. Actually, the
cost of investing in junk over quality products is
a difference of only 30 percent. And look at the
upside: a quality shopfitter will dismantle the old
fixtures and install the new ones on site. This
usually takes a few days depending on the job size.
In the case of a standalone store, it is even faster as
the work is done after the store closes and business
is not disrupted.
What new materials in store fixtures are
Besides metal, wood, glass, acrylic, stainless steel
been used traditionally, we also see increased use of
marble, granite, corean, pressed wood, fiberboard,
etc. This is particularly true in the lifestyle segment.
Custom-designed metal store fixtures have become
popular too. Earlier, they were considered heavy,
unwieldy and expensive, and they offered fewer
designs and styles. Most people considered them
only for their back-end storage or for industrial
establishments. Wood was the preferred material.
Now, counters, garment racks and shelving systems
are being made from metal/steel, which is more
light in weight, easy to work with, and are finished/
polished in attractive colours.
What are the advantages of metal fixtures?
The biggest advantage is that metal fixtures
have a long life as compared to other materials.
Many custom metal store fixtures are designed
to imitate the standard slat wall panels. Here,
pressed wood or fiberboard is replaced by strong
though thin metal sheets, in which holes or
grooves are produced which support a variety of
attractive accessories that enable hanging and
shelving displays. What’s more metal fixtures can
-Abid Vakil, CAEM India Shelving
With FDI coming in, the
industry would certainly be in a
more aggressive mode
march–april 2013 images iNDIA SHOP design 13
What are the issues and challenges that you
have to deal with in the Indian market?
Retail is ever changing – the client faces
challenges due to factors not within his control
and eventually, these challenges tend to get
shifted to vendors like us. Such factors include
builder issues, government permissions,
documentation, other formalities, etc, not
completed in proper time, and as a result
projects, malls, stores get delayed generally and
we get affected. The challenge is to complete
projects in time, of the desired quality, and at
the price that the client is commercially viable
with. Also, sometimes we see competition just
for the sake of competition and lot of times the
client tends to ‘exploit’ the situation only to put
pressure on existing vendors. However, such
vendors tend to run away once the numbers
increase and when they realise that there are no
margins for him.
What are your design and manufacturing capabilities?
We have our in-house design studio with professionals able to
provide designs specifically suited to client’s requirements. The
design team has already done path-breaking designs for some
clients, appreciated by them. Also, we study design dockets provided
to us by clients and revert back to them with our inputs for their
consideration. Manufacturing facilities at our disposal practically
have every machine necessary. Of course, some components such as
glass and acrylic are outsourced.
Are the products produced indigenously or imported from Italy?
Products are produced indigenously as well as imports of critical
components from Italy which we carry in our stocks. This
combination gives us a unique combination of European quality and
technology, Indian prices and lead time.
support more weight without bending or cracking,
plus they can address concerns regarding the
weight of the product when using slat wall panels
How much budget should a retailer set aside for
This would depend on the segment he is in.
Generally, the lifestyle segment is much higher
than supermarket segment. However, we consider
our products as investments rather than cheap
consumables where the retailer has to change them
every few years due to wear and tear, etc. Retailers
select the material based on the cost-effectiveness,
the weight and size of the product being displayed,
and what the store wants to project. Selecting the
right company to manufacture the fixtures is crucial.
So retailers should check out suppliers who have a
good track record, and they should also check out the
work they have done in other stores.
What is your marketing strategy?
To enter newer segments as well as newer formats of existing clients.
CAEM’s expertise lies in providing shelving solutions to
pharmacies. Please elaborate.
In a modern pharmacy, the main fixtures are medication
distribution systems, medicine storage systems and floor supported
counters. Gondolas, slat wall panels, hangers, packaging, glass
displays, shelving, sign holders, tables, risers, wall standards,
brackets, display cases and counters, backroom storage, and cash
counter wall unit are part of a pharmacy’s store fixtures. All of
these fixtures are designed to provide good functionality along
Free standing fixtures are better suited for storage as they have
ample space and work space, and can be easily adjusted or changed
if the store undergoes renovation or expansion needs. Floor supported
fixtures are good for supporting heavy equipments. Shelves are for
storing and shelving drugs in a very efficient way. All fixtures must
be designed to make a pharmacy store more productive.
a lot of volume has shift ed to Ch ina
as pricing has become a crucial part in
selection of fixtures and event ually
th e vendo r
By Seema Gupta