Classmate, one of ITC’s prime stationery brands is estimated to have a budget of Rs 1,500-crore and is currently emphasizing on designing of new products in order to stimulate sales and tide over the present slowdown. The company has also planned to deal with the challenges attentively, in the off-season period from July to October.
As specified by a senior company official, the business since last six months had been experiencing a crunch in their sales, dropping to single digits, thus manifesting an economic decline. However, several ITC experts expect its stationery business to get back to double digit growth from December.
ITC Ltd Chief Executive, Education and Stationery Products Business Division, Shailendra Tyagi mentioned "The segment is not insulated from economic slowdown. There is primarily downtrading and postponement of purchases.
In the last six months, in the context of the economy, we have grown in high single digit. It is not in double digits anymore."
In addition to this, he expressed "When school sessions starts, students buy in bulks. What we are seeing is postponement in such purchases now."
Also, due to slowdown, what gets affected the most, is the rough notebooks, which are used for tuitions and other rough work, he said.
Tyagi added, with the onset of floods in many parts of the country, schools were declared closed which had adversely affected the sales. Nonetheless, once the situation normalizes and schools reopen, sales will start ascending.
"When the industry is growing, you grow anyway. If we want to accelerate further we have to take the route of product innovation so that what we bring to the table is differentiated," Tyagi said.
Lately, the company set in motion with its Classmate Pulse 3D Notebook, which provides "an immersive experience" through a 3-dimensional cover, enabled through a lenticular board.
Besides, it also introduced Classmate Pulse interchangeable notebooks, offering students the choice to repeatedly change covers of the notebook and have a different cover whenever wished for.
Another unique initiative that the company came up with was the launch of Classmate Pulse Selfie notebooks, which allows personalisation of notebooks with a selfie on the cover.