Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Pantaloon's star is shining bright

After Reliance, it'’s Pantaloon Retail that'’s constantly been in the news. If anyone is capable of taking on the mighty strength of Reliance Retail, it'’s definitely Kishore Biyani of Pantaloon. He has the clear advantage as the country'’s largest, most successful as well as its most innovative retailer. Even though Reliance has pulled in several big names like Raghu Pillai, Bijou Kurien, Gunender Kapur, Sriram Srinavasan, Rajeev Karwal and Ninu Khanna, it'’s not going to be an easy job setting up supply chains, distribution networks, training in-store staff, merchandising and the rest of it.

The biggest problem facing the retail industry is a severe shortage of qualified and experienced middle and upper management. There simply aren'’t enough people who know what the job requires and to tackle this problem, Kishore Biyani has tied up with four management schools from where he will offer employment to all students enrolling in the MBA program. The company has already recruited 62 graduates since 2005 from this pool.

The four institutes are:
1) Wellingkar Institute of Management Development
2) KJ Somaiya Institute
3) IILM, Delhi
4) Chennai Business School.

The company has 14,000 employees at present and is looking for 600 frontline and 60 managerial positions to be filled each month. Interestingly, Pantaloons is one of the few companies that does not use temporary staffing for its sales teams, as it feels it does not ensure career growth. They are obviously doing something right, the attrition rates are only 8.3% compared to an average ranging between 40-50% in the industry.

With inputs from this article in The Hindu Business Line

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