Monday, September 25, 2006

Specialty stores to take center stage

More retail stuff. Although the concept is not new to the US and other western markets, in India it is still at the developing stage. In an earlier post today, I wrote about the K Raheja Group's latest foray, Home Stop, its home furnishings store, which didn't really feel like a specialty store as it had a MotherCare in the same area and pretty much felt like a regular department store. Read that post here.

On a related note, The Economic Times reports that even though hypermarkets have been getting a lot of attention in recent times, it is the specialty store trend that is really taking off. The specialty store trend cuts across sectors with some offbeat categories and even some in the unorganized sector. Hindustan Lever is considering a chain of stores only for laundry products. Other categories inviting interest are electronics and electrical products, office products and stationary, toys, lingerie, chocolates and furnishings.

Some of the major names currently involved in this thinking include the Tata’s, the Jumbo group from Dubai, Marks & Spencer’s Women’s Secret, Straps, which was earlier Sensa, Luxur Parker, Bilt, Havells, Phillips and Bajaj Electronics. The Indo Rama Group recently tied up with Office 1 Superstore International to open Office 1 stores for stationary and office needs.

According to Harminder Sahni, CEO of KSA Technopak,
“Internationally, specialized retail is a big business. Similar trends will emerge in India.”
Abhijit Das, head of Ansal Plaza Mall Management Co. adds,
“Since most stores in these specialized categories will need much lesser space in comparison to the existing formats, such as lifestyle and hypermarkets, they will all come up in malls. There won’t be too many stand-alone stores.”

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