Chennai

Chennai Retail – Heating Up!

In general there is talk in market circles about how Retail in India is set to boom in few years. The trend has certainly started and I feel the retailers are slow to keep pace with the consumers demands.

To understand look at the massive crowd in Saravana Stores (பிரம்மாண்டாமாய்), Pothys or RMKV in Usman Road, or in Spencer Plaza or Chennai City Centre. Earlier it used to crowded only before festivals & weekends – now it is crowded 365 days. The time is right for Saravana Stores to follow Singapore Mustafa and keep the shop open 24 hours a day. More than anyone I will be happy to shop if they keep it open 24 hours – you can go in the night, park easily and shop without the hassles.

Today I went with my wife and kid to the new entrant in the city Pantaloons’ Big Bazaar. In the store and in the parking lots there were hugeeee crowd (ஃபிரியாக {free} கொடுப்பது போல் கூட்டம்) . There was an attractive exchange offer going on, people can bring any old household items, old papers, old clothes or anything. Based on the weight they are given coupons of “N” value. You need to shop for 4 times the “N”, then you can get “N” as discount. Not a total free deal, but certainly a good marketing plot to get the mass foot fall – especially the lower income and low middle income who otherwise will consider a brand like Big Bazaar to be expensive and not walk in at all. We didn’t buy anything today, as we didn’t have the patience to stand in the huge “Queue” for check-out. In the 30 minutes or so that I spent in the store, it seemed to be well-laid, staff informed and well stocked – and this is a complement from someone who enjoys to spend time in all major retail stores around the world (US, UK, Aussie &  South-East Asia). If BB can maintain the prices, quality and ambience – I feel Big Bazaar can give a good competition to “Wal-Mart” whenever it enters India.

Big Bazaar seems to have an online version at FutureBazaar.com