Furniture maker Hatil Complex recently opened its second international outlet, a franchise store in Toronto, Canada.
The single-brand 6,000 square feet showroom was inaugurated on May 10, at 1261 Kennedy Road, Toronto, the company said in a statement yesterday.
The brand first crossed borders with a store in Sydney in August last year.
“Our relentless effort to optimise quality and design has enabled us to make furniture that is best-in-class. This is just a beginning and the furniture industry as a whole is preparing to capitalise on the huge export market of Bangladeshi furniture abroad,” said Selim H Rahman, chairman and managing director of Hatil.
Hatil, however, does not have any direct concern there; non-resident Bangladeshis will operate the store, he told The Daily Star.
The new overseas outlet will help increase furniture exports, said Rahman. “The Bangladeshi community in Canada is now quite big, so there is immense potential for furniture exports there.”
Hatil, that started exports in February last year, has so far shipped furniture worth around Tk 50 crore, he added.
Customer feedback is positive and Hatil is planning to open showrooms in North America and Europe, said Moshiur Rahman, marketing director of the company.
The price of wooden furniture is high in Canada, which gives an opportunity to Bangladesh for its attractive price performance ratio, said Syed Bipul, managing director of Hatil Furniture Canada Inc, in a statement.
Almost half of the displayed furniture was sold on the first day, Bipul added.
The price to demand gap in the Canadian market encouraged a Canadian entrepreneur of Bangladeshi origin to venture into retailing furniture with Hatil. The company plans to open stores in other Canadian cities soon, the statement added.
Established in 1989, Hatil Complex Ltd now has an annual turnover of Tk 75 crore, with its factory in Gazipur capable of producing furniture worth around Tk 200 crore a year.
A number of companies like Otobi, Akhtar, Hatil, Brothers, Partex, Navana, Legacy and Furnitec are involved in furniture exports.
The companies raked in around Tk 285 crore in exports in the first ten months of the current fiscal year, up 39.72 percent from the same period last year, according to data from Export Promotion Bureau.
Exports were worth Tk 245 crore last fiscal year, up 15.73 percent from fiscal 2011-12, it added.
Furniture is a rapidly growing sector, with turnover growing at around 19 percent year-on-year. The industry currently employs about 30 lakh people directly.