Marico Ltd, a company known for the Saffola and Parachute brands, wants to cash in on the growing demand for slimming centres. The Rs1,144-crore fast-moving consumer goods company plans weight loss-cum-wellness centres across India.
“We are definitely looking at expanding our presence in the beauty and wellness segment. At the moment, we are evaluating various options,” Rohit Gothi, head, new businesses, told Mint. Marico first diversified into this segment two and a half years ago through Kaya Sink Clinic. “We are an innovative company and have many prototypes under way at any given time”, said Rakesh Pandey, chief executive officer, Kaya Skin Clinic Ltd but declined to give any details.
Analysts said an entry into the weight loss/management business would consolidate its gains in the skin care segment as increasing health awareness has resulted in a virtual explosion of gymnasiums and weight loss clinics. In fact, firms have been quick to spot the opportunity. For instance, Pantaloon Retail (India) Ltd has announced plans to open health care clinics and gymnasiums under the wellness segment. VLCC, the Delhi–based player in the fitness, beauty and health segment, has announced a Rs150-crore expansion plan over the next three years.
According to sources close to the development, Marico is ready with the prototype of the proposed slimming centre in Mumbai. In addition to a range of imported health equipment, the proposed venture will house nutrition centre and a fitness-centre-cum-gymnasium. “The first such slimming centre may open in the next two months,” an industry source said. Gothi of Marico, however, said it was premature to provide details on the new venture.
Marico, which built its reputation on Saffola and Parachute oil brands, diversified into the skin care clinic business a couple of years ago through the Kaya brand, offering a range of dermatological treatments for cosmetic enhancement. The company now has close to 50 Kaya Skin Care clinics in 14 Indian cities and four in West Asia. It has a client base of 40,000.
Marico’s brush with the beauty business has worked well for it in the past. Kaya Skin Care is expected to reach a turnover of over Rs70 crore during FY 2006-07, according to Pandey. “Skin care and anti-ageing treatments are a growing trend in India and people expect results when they pay premium sums for treatment,” he said. Nearly 10% of Kaya Skin’s business currently comes from anti-ageing treatments including botox.
“Obesity is a real issue today and I see more men than women falling prey to it,” says Dr. Duru Shah, a leading obstetrician and gynaecologist. “Centres that help people shed their excess weight with physical exercise and healthy eating are good starting points for a lifetime of wellness. What I don’t approve of is a clinic that promises weight loss with fad diets and no fitness regimen at all,” said Shah.