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    Debenhams to increase retail presence in India

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    Popular departmental store Debenhams from UK is all set to increase retail presence in India. After their first store in Gurgaon in 2007, the company recently launched their second store in Mumbai at Phoenix Market City Mall, Kurla.

    The company that faced several hurdles in establishing itself in the Indian retail market, unfortunately had to shut down two of its stores, one in New Delhi and the other at Oberoi Mall, Mumbai. Speaking on the same, Vikas Purohit, COO, Planet Retail, who seemed uncertain about the reasons behind the stores being shut said: “After the first store, two more stores were launched that eventually got shut. It was then handled by a different management. It’s been two years now that a new management has been appointed to handle UK-based company Debenhams.”

    With the changing purchase pattern of Indian consumers, Purohit added that people have now shifted their interest from purchasing mass-oriented brands that are available at stores like Shoppers Stop to premium ones. “The market for premium brands required time to develop. So, it took us two years to come up with this new store in Mumbai. At present, the market has evolved and the consumers are ready to shell out from their pockets if they find merchandise worthy of its value,” stressed Purohit.

    Phoenix Market City Mall in Kurla, which claims to house many international brands, was one of the reasons for Debenahms to open their second store at this location. “Expecting good revenues and success in retail within six months of store operation does not happen. Retail is a vision for 12 years. Even though this mall will take time to have huge footfalls, in future with mono-rail coming up in Mumbai and almost every international brand opening their first store in Phoenix Market City, this mall within the next eight months will become most sought after,” added Purohit.

    With Debenhams in Gurgaon growing at 45 percent almost every month, Purohit spoke about the store expansion in other cities. Debenhams store will soon be seen in an upcoming mall in Bangalore. Throwing light on the retail and marketing strategies, Purohit added: “ We will not be reckless in opening stores. There is no point opening stores and later shutting them down. Each store needs to deliver good profit, either within a short-term or in mid-term period. After all, stores are not for having a hoarding value. We also intend to invest around 3-4 percent of our annual revenue on CRM and social media marketing.”

    The new Debenhams store that stocks womenswear, menswear, kidswear, innerwear, beachwear, accessories, and home products is spread over 28,000 sq.ft. The outlet will also have a mobile loyalty programme instead of loyalty cards through which customers can avail discounts and acquire points on their purchase on their phones. Merchandise available at the store is priced between Rs 595 and 13,000.

    -Tista Sengupta
    tsg.images@gmail.com