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Retail buzz from The Shop in Delhi

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• Era Infrastructure Group, the developers of the Al-burj Mall in Dubai, is focusing on building malls and multiplexes in tier II and tier III towns. The company plans to construct two malls and a township in Meerut, and also bring the mall culture to smaller towns like Palwal and Hissar. With a projected target of 300 screens in the next 2 years, the group is also getting into development of a residential school by the name of Aster Court in Jaipur. The group commits to deliver all its projects in time, stressing that as a distinguishing factor.

• Rajeev Karwal, chairman of the retail consulting firm Milagro, chaired The Shop that started on June 29 in New Delhi. Focusing on the prospects of retail in India and its concerns, Karwal discussed the importance of strong retail planning and processing. He said, “Backend supply chain forms an integral part of the functioning of an organised retail set-up and the big players must invest what they earn from customers in building a strong supply and front service.” He rejected the idea of a retailer trying to build a supply chain from scratch and suggested the work be left to the specialists and be outsourced. Expressing his concerns over the dearth of organised retail in India, Karwal said, “Organised retail is not unorganised retail in an organised environment.”

• Dockers will have a womenswear line in September this year, revealed Shumone Chatterjee, managing director, Levi’s, India. Launch of a new denim range as also a new apparel line is on the cards.

• Kabir Lumba, managing director of the Rs 500-crore Lifestyle, informs that the company is targeting 50 per cent growth in next 3 years. The expansion plans include taking Lifestyle stores from its current count of 12 to 36, and Home Centres from 5 to 15.

• Hong Kong-based kidswear company Keona Kidz plans to re-launch its brand in India. It will be retailing through MBOs like Ebony. With an initial investment of US$50,000 the brand targets the higher middle-class customers. Apart from the North, it plans to capture the southern and central India markets including Bangalore, Hyderabad and Mumbai.

• Tony Brett, Retail Management Consultants Ltd, feels that brand loyalty is not present in the United Kingdom and Europe because the shoppers desire to have their individualistic style and purchase what they want from a plethora of shopping points.

• To share its knowledge and expertise with retailers in tier II cities, JLL Meghraj is expanding its network in towns like Ludhiana, Lucknow and Bhubaneshwar. The company will open its offices in these cities shortly. The company is also projecting to grow by 30-35 per cent, targeting a turnover of $100 million by 2009. There are plans to bring in international hospitality majors and provide services to the big retail chains and malls in the country.

• Select City Walk is all set to open an exclusive mall dedicated to women and children, with more than 50 fashion stores. The mall will also have special facilities for children including feeding rooms, nappy changing stations, clinic and day care/crèches. Considering that the mall will primarily be for women, the company plans to employ only women – from class four to the top level officials.

Pantaloons will be the anchor store with an area of 20, 000 square feet. Besides, there will be a special section dedicated to beauty and fragrances by K Raheja Kaur, across 15, 000 square feet. In addition to international brands like Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin Klein, Charles and Keith, and French Connection, the mall will also be host to ethnic brands like Fab India and Kalpana Sarees, as well as various Indian designerwear stores. When asked on his future plans, Pranay Sinha said, “I plan to make the women of Delhi get hooked on to this mall and offer them a unique shopping experience by housing the best brands under every category possible.”

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