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    Retail in the week past


    The Indian retail sector, last week, experienced various aspects that can easily make up for an entertaining saga. Apart from new plans, being announced as usual by variuos industry players, we also saw some new and innovative concepts being introduced and successfully implemented.

    In addition, the industry also had to tackle a few setbacks in the form of restrictions and movements. Indiaretailing re-read its own sections and found that not only was the industry being bullish about expansions and developments, they were also speaking about and discussing various new ideas while mourning the losses.

    Concepts Introduced :

    Airport Retailing: After successfully completing 100 days of retail in Bengaluru airport, the concept of airport retailing was welcomed by the capital’s airport authorities. Understanding the growth potential in this sector, GMR, the body which controls the Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi, has planned to provide retail space at the terminals.

    Meanwhile, SSP, one of the world’s leading operator of food and beverage brands in travel locations worldwide, has planned to enter the Indian market by launching food retail brand “Flavours”, at the terminals of the IGI airport.

    Flea Market: Select Citywalk, the landmark mall in New Delhi, has introduced a flea market concept in the premises of the mall, wherein it had gathered more footfalls than a normal Wednesday night.

    Branded ‘Flea by Nite’, this is an upmarket affair coupled with live bands, designer clothes (from Raghavendra Rathore and Anjana Bhargava), designer tiles, book stalls, vintage motor parts, live grills and gelatos, mocktail bars, lifestyle goods, jewellery, antiques, old coins and stamps.

    Retail Varsity: Lavasa Corporation, in association with National School of Hospitality Management (NSHM) Knowledge Campus, Kolkata, has planned to develop the country’s first university focused on retail training. This is in response to a much voiced need by the industry and is worthy of a round of applause.

    Lavasa, a part of the Hindustan Construction Company, will be developing India’s first planned hill station in Pune and is planning to set up the university there.

    Multi-task Zones: Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOCL) has decided to introduce grocery stores, courier outlets, eateries and ATM facilities at the premises of its outlets in the north eastern region of the country.


    Movements: Inspite of these new concepts being introduced, the industry did experience some loses as many key decision makers of top companies decided to quit and develop their own plan of actions.

    Kunal Sachdev, the person instrumental in building Hidesign into an aspirational brand, has quit the company to start his own retail venture. In addition, Partha Datta Gupta, the CEO of Barista has also left the company to join Swatch Group as country head replacing Gopalratnam Kannan.

    Restrictions: Besides having industry stalwarts move out of their positions, the industry also had to counter various restrictions and limits that were imposed by some political parties and the legislature. After being restricted from launching the Nano on the slated time from its Singur plant in West Bengal, the Tata’s are being held back from introducing retail operations in the state.

    Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee has said that her party would resist the group’s presumptive entry into West Bengal’s retail sector.

    Meanwhile, the Kolkata High Court has restrained a McDonald’s outlet at the city’s Park Street from further renovations and has asked the state authorities to file a status report on the blast that ripped through the restaurant on August 12, 2007, killing a passerby.

    The Raj Thackeray-led Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) asked the retailers to put up boards and hoardings only in Marathi.

    Introductions made:

    Launches: Despite various setbacks, the industry did find some new players launching their maiden operations. The Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Retail has introduced its 12th retail format under the brandname “Reliance Living Homeware”, in Aurangabad.

    Salora Retail Venture Ltd, the retail arm of Salora International Ltd, has announced the opening of nine multi brand electronics retail outlets branded as ‘Terminal’ in different parts of Delhi and is targeting an annual turnover of around Rs 50 lakh per store.

    Royal Philips, the European giant involved in manufacturing and retailing consumer products world wide, is all set to start its India operation over the next couple of years. The company, as part of the plan, will set up a special group in Delhi to study the market condition of India across all the verticals of retail.

    Fast Retailing Co. Ltd, one of Japan’s apparel majors, is considering the Indian market as its new ground for retail expansions and will open stores of its flagship brand ‘Uniqlo’ in a few months’ time.

    Openings and plans: Besides new players, the industry also had the established players planning and expanding operations throughout the country. At an investment of around Rs 1,500 to1,600 crore, Big Bazaar has planned to open around 15 more stores by end-November.

    Prateek Lifestyle, a subsidiary of apparel manufacturer Prateek Apparels, has opened its third discount retail format ‘Coupon’ in Hyderabad. The company already operates two stores in Bengaluru and Raipur.

    Targeting youth as their prime consumers, Sonata, the watch brand from Tata group, has launched its new range of watches ‘Super Fibre’ recently with India’s ODI captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni as its brand ambassador.

    Koutons Retail India Ltd, one of India’s apparel majors, has opened its 1st store in Hyderabad recently. This is the company’s 89th store in the country.

    Luxor Writing Instruments Pvt Ltd (LWIL), which operates the Luxor Signature brand of stores, has focussed on introducing two new verticals of retail. Branded as High Life and Luxor Colors, the stores will retail luxury and kids products respectively.

    Vimal, the flagship brand that retails Reliance Industries Ltd’s apparel range, has opened its first exclusive retail store at Tollygunj area in Kolkata.