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    “Don’t be deterred by the slowdown”

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    “Customer Service is not a department, but an attitude; one has to nourish it and then cherish the success — it’s all yours,” says Neeraj Duggal, vice president, Retail Development, Prestige Constructions.

    Starting off as a marine engineer by profession, Duggal joined Prestige Constructions in 2003 and that was just by chance, he reveals.

    “Now it’s like celebrating and feeling good about being a part of the bold and beautiful trends of fashion everyday as on the job,” he states.

    But it is also about experiencing the other side of the coin, he adds further. “It’s also feeling the pains of finely balancing the interests of tenants, customers and developers and often being criticised by one or the other if the requirements are not met eventually,” Duggal elucidates while sharing thoughts with IndiaRetailing about his experience in a broader scale of operational activities at Prestige.

    IndiaRetailing (IR): What is the driving philosophy of operations in retail development at Prestige Constructions?

    Neeraj Duggal (ND): To provide and to continue with an exciting and experimental environment to the customers; offering them the superior quality of products which is relevant to their lifestyle and meets the aspirations of the demographic nature of the catchment. We also believe that this will be the key differentiator in the future development of retail landscape in India.

    IR: While taking your operation in retail development forward in the Indian context, what is the biggest learning from the current slowdown?

    ND: One should consolidate and continue to provide the best of the experiences to the customers by an efficient management of the asset. We endeavour to meet our customers’ expectation of competitive occupancy cost, conceptualising relevant promotional activities to attract the end consumers, and maintaining a partnering relationship with the tenants.

    IR: Your personal vision when it comes to leading your retail team.
    ND: It is a motivated team that delivers quality service. The team has to be inspired by their thoughts and beliefs about their organisation and should be enthused by pride in what they are doing.

    IR: Given the two schools of thought that are currently dominating the Indian retail industry — ‘aggressive expansion’ versus ‘slow but steady expansion’ — which has attracted you as your own retail strategy?

    ND: We believe in being realistic in the current situation and aware of the ups and downs of the demand; but at the same time ready with the specific requirements when the demand increases. We believe that while we should not get carried away by the momentum, we also should not get deterred by the slow down.

    IR: Your comment on the expression ‘Powerful Retailer’. According to you, which are the three most ‘powerful retailers’ in the world and why.

    ND: A powerful retailer is one that does not get deterred in the face of adversity but uses each phase in the economy to consolidate its scale of operation and prepares better for the next phase. According to me the three most powerful retailers in the world are Nordstorm, Toys R Us and Ikea.

    By Sangita Ghosh