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Friday, February 26, 2010

How Much Does a Free Cone from Baskin-Robbins Really Cost?

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Nothing says happy birthday like ice cream. Especially when that ice cream comes free from Baskin-Robbins. That's right. America's largest ice cream chain sent me an email on my birthday for a free ice cream cone.

Wait a sec. Was it really free? Let's take a closer look.

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Bharti Retail enters Rajasthan

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Sunil Mittal-promoted Bharti Retail entered Rajasthan by launching the state’s first compact-hyper store ‘easyday Market’ in Jaipur.

The company currently has 63 stores in cities across Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and New Delhi. These stores are of two formats Supermarkets, which are known as "easyday", and Compact Hyper, which are known as "easyday Market".

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Retail industry feels left out in Budget

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The Indian retail sector on Friday said it feels left out by the Budget as its main demands ofeasing foreign direct investments and granting industry status to it have not been met by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee.

"We were expecting FDI rules to be relaxed in retail business. It would have benefited retailers as well as the ultimate consumers," Vishal Retail Chief Managing Director Ram Chandra Agarwal said.

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What Do Your Restrooms Say About You?

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When it comes to sanitation and store cleanliness, looks speak for themselves. Whether it’s the front counter, the forecourt or the restrooms, convenience store operators must monitor the message they are sending to customers.

“If you’re in this business and want to stay in this business your customer is going to tell you what their expectations are, and if you don’t meet those expectations they’re going to go somewhere else,” said Mike Thornbrugh, spokesman for QuikTrip, which operates 537 stores in nine states across the Midwest. “One of their expectations is having a clean store and a clean restroom. That’s an absolute must.”


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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Kishore Biyani's Budget wish: Incentivise consumption - CNBC-TV18 -

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There are less than three days to go before Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee presents Budget 2010. The opinion among industrial economists is still divided on whether it’s time to withdraw the fiscal stimulus measures and let domestic demand stand on its own two feet. Voices are raised from various sectors of India Inc manufacturing, exports, and infrastructure.
The biggest retailers in the country Kishore Biyani, Chief Executive Officer of Future Group told CNBC-TV18, spoke about his budget expectations and how the consumer confidence level is looking currently.

Ambanis now fighting over trademarks - Reliance Finance

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Days after the Reliance-Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group (R-Adag) opposed Reliance Industries Ltd’s (RIL) trademark application for “Reliance Finance”, the latter has hit back by opposing R-Adag’s application to trademark the similar-sounding “Reliance Financial”.


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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Online shopping: It's getting harder to compare prices

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The Internet had made comparisons so simple that companies are now scheming to hide their real prices, making actual costs impossible to figure out ahead of time.

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ITC to launch Sunfeast noodles

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Noodles appear to be the flavour of the season, with fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) major ITC being the latest to join the bandwagon.
The company, according to sources close to the development, plans to launch noodles under the ‘Sunfeast’ brand name. ITC sells biscuits and pasta under the same brand. “With pasta under the Sunfeast name, it comes as a natural brand extension for noodles,” the sources said.
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Biyani to launch 30 more Big Bazaar’s in 6 months

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Kishore Biyani-led Future Group is planning to open 30 more Big Bazaars in the next six months as part of its overall plan to create 5 million sq ft of retail space by 2011.

Going by conservative estimates of each Big Bazaar over 50,000 sq ft, the Future Group will create almost 1.5 mn sq ft of retail space under the value retail format in the next six months. Asked about expansion plans, Biyani said, “We will have at least 30 more Big Bazaars in the next six months.”
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Shoppers Stop - ‘We have positioned ourselves as house of brands’

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After a rough patch through most of 2009, Shoppers Stop did fairly well in the December 2009 quarter to post a net profit of Rs 13.6 crore on revenues of Rs 393 crore. However, the retailer, which now has close to 2 million sq feet of space across formats, reported a same-store growth of just 2% during the three months to December 2009. Govind Shrikhande, CEO, Shoppers Stop, admits there are challenges, but is convinced that sales should pick up as new stores are rolled out. Speaking to Shobhana Subramanian, Shrikhande explains that, going forward, the retailer’s strategy will be to increase penetration by rolling out more shops in cities where it already has a presence so as to capture a larger marketshare. Excerpts:
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Fresh bazaar war hots up

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A home-grown retail chain will soon bite into the fresh-produce pie of organised markets, locking horns with perishables giants like Reliance Fresh, Spencer’s and More.

Future Group has entered into a 50:50 joint venture with Keventer Fresh Group to roll out a new line of perishables stores. Kicking off in Calcutta within a month, the chain has plans for an aggressive pan-India footprint.
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Now, spend your way out of the budget blues

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hinking of buying a fridge, air conditioner, TV, microwave or LCD, but want to wait for the budget? Here’s some good news.
At least one prominent retail outlet has worked out a deal to ensure that you do not end up a loser.
The eZone, Big Bazaar, offer is if a person buys any commodity, and post budget its price falls, the customer will be refunded twice the difference of that amount. “There is a lot of speculation on consumer durables and electronic prices post budget. So, we have decided to refund the difference if prices fall. The refund will be twice the actual difference,” said Atul Takle, head, corporate communications in charge of the Pantaloon Retail India Pvt Ltd. The offer will last till 3 pm on February 26, budget day. “The refund will be in the form of eZone vouchers,” Takle added.
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Monday, February 22, 2010

Bullish or Just Bull? CPGs Upbeat About Turnaround

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After a rough year, packaged-goods companies plan to emerge from their defensive crouch with product innovations designed to drive top-line growth, but some analysts are skeptical whether consumers are ready.

Major firms in the category who met in Boca Raton, Fla., last week at the Consumer Analyst Group of New York (CAGNY) conference, including Procter & Gamble, Clorox and Church & Dwight, might be best described as “cautiously optimistic” about 2010. Some analysts questioned that moderately upbeat view.
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Marks & Spencer to reposition as a mid-market aspirational brand in India

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Marks & Spencer to reposition as a mid-market aspirational brand in India UK’s leading retailer Marks & Spencer, which entered India through a joint venture with Reliance Industries, is all set to open more company-owned stores, and reposition itself as a mid-market aspirational brand. Recent news reports suggest the iconic British retailer is also betting big on overseas markets especially India and China for a turnaround. This was stated by Sir Stuart Rose, non-executive chairman of M&S on a visit to India. According to him their brand positioning here would be the same as in the UK. He said the company is working hard to win the Indian consumer.

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RPG in Talks to Sell Spencer's Retail Stake - WSJ.com

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Diversified Indian conglomerate RPG Enterprises Ltd. is in "advanced" talks with private-equity companies for selling a stake in its retail venture, Spencer's Retail Ltd., at a time when a rebound in consumer demand is spurring retail operators to seek funds for expansion.

Spencer's Retail's bigger competitors like Pantaloon Retail (India) Ltd. and Shoppers Stop Ltd. are also looking to raise funds as the economic condition in India is improving.

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Fast-food breakfast sales decline as fewer head to work

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The nation's high unemployment rate has thrown millions of people out of work, scared shoppers away from stores and threatened the economic recovery. Now it's taking a bite out of breakfast.

Breakfast sales had grown at a ravenous pace during the boom years as busy workers scarfed down sausage biscuits on the way to the office, fueling a $57 billion business and accounting for as much as a quarter of sales at some fast-food chains. Chains opened earlier and expanded their morning menus to accommodate the traffic as lunch and dinner sales flatlined.

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Retail Technology for Small and Medium Sized Merchants

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Last week, Target announced that their customers can now upload gift card balances to their mobile device, which can then be scanned and redeemed in-store. This represents the latest addition to Target’s suite of mobile programs that also allow their customers to view online product assortments, check product availability and store locations, manage their Target gift registry and lists, browse the weekly ad, and receive text and email notifications of promotions, all via their mobile phones.
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Custom packs seen as win-win for FMCG cos, big retailers

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The next time you decide to buy a Clinic All Clear shampoo you might just get a cheaper and more exciting variant at the nearest Big Bazaar outlet than your local grocery store. FMCG companies have decided to create specific pack sizes and variants to cater to modern trade, making a beginning with Kishore Biyani's Big Bazaar outlets.

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Saturday, February 20, 2010

Reliance Trends: Setting the Trend

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Reliance Trends, the apparel arm chain of Reliance Retail, is all set to revolutionize Indian apparel market. Arun Sirdeshmukh, Chief Executive Reliance Trends announced that they plan to expand their current base of 16 stores across the country to expand to a whopping 155 by 2012 across 90 cities. Recently, Reliance Trends was awarded the Asia Retail Congress – Retail Marketing Campaign of the year Award. According to senior company officials, with their incredible price offering combined with the number of outlets Reliance Trends is all set to transform the apparel industry in India.More...

FACTBOX-Indian retail attracts more foreign players | Reuters

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French retailer Carrefour, the world's No. 2 after Wal-Mart, said on Friday it would enter India this year with a wholesale business after looking to crack the restrictive market for seven years. The company said it was in talks with potential local partners, but declined to name them. Below are some facts, issues and players in the Indian retail sector.
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Package-Goods Marketers Vow to Boost Spending

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Consumer package-goods companies found a rare point of agreement at the Consumer Analyst Group of New York conference this week: the need for continued increases in marketing support. Marketers battling private label from Kraft to Procter & Gamble and General Mills promised bigger investments in advertising, in-store promotion, shelf signage, coupons and packaging.
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Biyani, Kellogg bury differences

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In November last, the Future group boycotted the breakfast cereal maker after it had reportedly turned down the retailer's demands for higher margins. Though talks were initiated on addressing the margin issue, sources indicated that the duo stuck to their guns, leading to a deadlock. ‘‘We have managed to find common ground,'' said an official from the Future Group, while confirming to TOI that Kellogg's cornflakes were back on its retail shelves. Kellogg India MD Anupam Dutta was unavailable for comment.
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Stop listening to your customers

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A common assumption among startup entrepreneurs is that listening to potential customers is the best way to find out whether your product or idea will succeed in the market. Honestly — don’t bother. In our nine years of research consulting for startups and big companies alike, one thing we’ve seen time and again is that it’s user behavior, not opinions, that tells you whether people want to use your product.
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Friday, February 19, 2010

France's Carrefour in talks with Indian cos | Reuters

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French retailer Carrefour is in talks with Indian companies for a partnership and expects to start its business in India with cash-and-carry activities, the company told Reuters.
The world's second largest retailer, however, declined to give names of the companies it is negotiating with and also did not confirm whether it was in talks with Future Group, which runs Pantaloon Retail, India's largest listed retailer.
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Landmark enters east, launches 24th Max in India

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At a time when retailers are struggling with high rentals and companies like Pantaloon Retail are slowing the pace of expansion by shifting focus to profitable growth, Dubai-based Landmark Group has charted an ambitious expansion plan of opening 37 Max stores by 2011-12 with an investment of Rs 148 crore. The company on Thursday entered the eastern region with the value fashion brand Max, which was launched in the country in 2006, with the first store opening at New Town City Centre 2. This will be Max’s 24th store in India.
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Economic recovery: Spotlight back on mergers and acquisitions

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At a time when retailers are struggling with high rentals and companies like Pantaloon Retail are slowing the pace of expansion by shifting focus to profitable growth, Dubai-based Landmark Group has charted an ambitious expansion plan of opening 37 Max stores by 2011-12 with an investment of Rs 148 crore. The company on Thursday entered the eastern region with the value fashion brand Max, which was launched in the country in 2006, with the first store opening at New Town City Centre 2. This will be Max’s 24th store in India.
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Mid-size retailers still feel the slowdown pinch

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Rustomjee Business School, promoted by realtor Boman Irani, stands tall on S V Road in Mumbai’s Dahisar area. Just a year ago, it was the site of an equally impressive Mega Mart promoted by Vishal Retail.

Vishal, which opened the 21,000 sq ft store in 2007, closed it a year ago to stem losses. But, the 30 other stores that Vishal closed in Mumbai and the National Capital Region in the last year have not been so lucky — they present a sad picture of deserted buildings, empty shelves and closed shutters. The company’s losses mounted to Rs 120 crore in the third quarter ended December 2009.
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Thursday, February 18, 2010

Islamic finance needs retail push: Ernst & Young

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he Islamic finance industry has so far neglected retail banking that could provide it with a funding base more stable than its main wholesale and investment business, the head of Islamic finance at Ernst & Young said.
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RADAG forays into direct selling for telecom;eyes Rs 110cr revenue

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Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group has diversified into direct selling of telephony products and services under its retail arm Reliance Webstore and is eyeing a revenue of Rs 110 crore in the first year.

Currently RADAG sells telecom products and services under its retail arm Reliance Webstore Ltd, which has 234 Reliance World Stores.
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Organised retail segment in India to grow over 3-fold in 5 yrs

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Global consultancy firm Technopak today said the organised modern retail segment in India will grow by over three times during the next five years to reach a figure of USD 80 billion.

The consultancy also said the share of private labels in the annual sales of organised retail players will also grow to around 25 per cent by 2014 from the existing 10-15 per cent.

Organised retail segment in India to grow over 3-fold in 5 yrs | mydigitalfc.com

Store brand names increase at the checkout

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"In the past the assumption was that store brands are for poor people or they are of low quality or somehow they are substandard but that's not true anymore," said Jain. "Stores realize that by using private label brand you're buying loyalty to the store."
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Bharti bats for Walmart, wants FDI norms eased

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The world’s largest retailer, Walmart now wants to significantly enhance its activities in front-end retail in India and is seeking opening up of foreign direct investment (FDI) in the sector at the earliest.
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Digital Music at Reliance TimeOut

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Reliance TimeOut seems to be experimenting with a new product offering in the music arena. They have started negotiating with music companies and content aggregators for the initiation of sale of digital music in their stores.

This new model proposed by the leisure arm of Reliance Retail is that the rights owners will make the music available via content aggregators, who, in turn, will stream it to the Reliance Timeout store. Customers can choose to buy single tracks, or create their own compilations, and have them copied to a portable music player or mobile phone, or burnt on a CD at a small extra cost. The clincher – the music will be available at just Rs. 8 to Rs. 10 per song!

Capital Foods keen to pick up stake in Chordia

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Capital Foods, a fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) company, is in talks to buy Pune-based processed foods company Chordia Food Products Ltd, which sells pickles, ketchups and instant mixes under the Pravin brand.

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Spinach withers in economic slowdown

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Grocery supermarket chain Spinach appears to be caught up in a slide that has seen a number of Indian retailers, particularly from low-margin food and grocery industry, down shutters in the wake of the economic slowdown.

Empty shelves and aisles greet you at the chain’s flagship store in Mumbai’s Bandra Kurla Complex. Its branch in Juhu, known for its prime location and suburban Mumbai clientele, presents a similarly dismal picture.
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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Retail sector to take time for full recovery: CBRE

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The Indian retail sector that has been reeling under the economic downturn will see a positive trend in consumer spending this year but its full recovery will take some time, according to global consultancy firm CB Richard Ellis (CBRE).

"Though 2009 started on a discouraging note for the retail sector, from third quarter onwards, some movement did take place...For 2010, we hope to see a positive trend in consumer spending," CBRE Chairman and MD South Asia Anshuman Magazine said, while issuing a report 'The India Retail Market View-Second Half, 2009'.

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Consumers Desire Better "Touch and Feel" Retail Experience When Buying Communications Products and Services, Accenture Study Finds

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Three out of four consumers still want to visit a physical retail store when buying a communications product or service, but they are not very satisfied with their experience and rated it only slightly better than average, according to an Accenture study released today.

Accenture surveyed more than 3,000 consumers in 18 countries to find out how the physical retail channel can help communications companies build strong customer relationships. Accenture also asked consumers what they want to do in, and expect from, a provider's retail store. More than half (56 percent) of the consumers surveyed had bought a mobile phone, wireless phone service plan, or cable television service at a provider's retail store in the past year.

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Building an Effective Supermarket Retail Website

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A report out by Bill Bishop, chairman of Willard Bishop, aims to decipher what supermarket websites need to do to best communicate with shoppers. The report is based on multiple visits to websites of eight retailers -- Festival Foods, Giant Food Stores, Harris Teeter, Wegmans, Kroger, Publix, Safeway, and Schnucks -- as well as an evaluation of their outbound (primarily e-mail) communications. Here are some of the findings based on the report, which was conducted in June through October of 2009:

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Study: calories do count – Nation’s Restaurant News

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A study at Ohio State University found that when menu information offered at a university dining center included calorie information, guests ordered lower-calorie entrĂ©es more often than when that information wasn’t posted. Overall, total sales didn’t suffer, however.

During the two-week study at a fast-food-style restaurant on campus in Columbus, 12 entrées were tracked, and the six highest-calorie items decreased in sales once calorie information was posted, while sales of lower-calorie items increased.

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Consumers Party On for Major Brands

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Call it a modern-day Tupperware party. Big, mass marketers like Microsoft, Kraft Foods, Ford, Verizon, Nestle and S.C. Johnson are going grassroots, enlisting consumers to throw parties in their homes to sell their products.

For Microsoft, which said it achieved "significant" success from a 14-country house party event in October for Windows 7, the appeal is the opportunity to make a lasting impression in relaxed, intimate settings.

"People are more jaded than they've been before about marketing and advertising," said Microsoft's Kathleen Hall, gm of consumer marketing, worldwide campaigns and product marketing for Windows. "This kind of lets you prove [a product's value] in a firsthand, experiential way. And the role of friends and influencers -- friends who are in the know -- is pretty significant in the purchase decision for a lot of things now."

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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Micro Star International (MSI) Further Expands Retail Reach In Indian Market

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Micro Star International (MSI) declared that they will further increase their retail reach to make their variety of notebook computers easily available to a broader client base.

In a consumer-friendly move, MSI has joined hands with popular large format retail chains such as Croma, Reliance Digital and Big Bazaar across several cities.

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Coke Launches ‘Shelf-Savvy Marketing’ To Boost Sales, Create Value at Shelf

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Coca-Cola is rolling out a “shelf-savvy marketing” initiative that leverages the power of its special brand to evoke fond memories among consumers. The program aims to connect with all shoppers in the store – whether they are singles on a quick trip or families stocking up for the week.

Underlying the initiative is Coke’s notion of creating value through specialness and creating specialness through an experience. That’s the formula for selling more products at a higher price.

Changes in HomeTown format

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Future Group, India’s largest retailer, is all set to overhaul its home solutions retail concept ‘HomeTown’ to ensure the brand turns profitable.
The process will include inviting partners and concessionaires to each store, changing the product mix, reorienting store organisation and bringing in the right mix of people.
The move follows a double-digit decline in store sales growth in 2009 for Home Solutions Retail (India), which runs HomeTown stores, as consumers postponed purchases of new homes. Home Solutions Retail (India) is Pantaloon Retail India’s (PRIL) largest subsidiary by revenues, contributing almost Rs 595 crore in the half-year period ending December 2009.
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Shoppers Stop plans expansion to catch up with competitors

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Shoppers’ Stop Ltd, the 18-year-old retail chain promoted by K Raheja Corp, is plans to expand over the next three years to catch up with competition.

Though the company was among the first movers in the country’s organised retail market, it has about 1.9 million (sq ft of retail space today. It is considered a slow mover compared to competitors such as Kishore Biyani’s Pantaloon Retail, which has over 10 million sq ft of space, or Reliance Retail, which has over 950 stores covering 4 million sq ft. Aditya Birla Retail has 700 stores with over 2 million sq ft space. Both Reliance and Aditya Birla started operations in 2006.

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Marketing Perspectives: Private Labels : From Cheap Substitues to Serious Competition

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For quite long, executives have dismissed private labels as inferior products and focused exclusively on the competing manufacturer brands. Most of the manufacturers, for a fact, benchmarked only against other manufacturer brands, and not against private labels. It seems that it didn’t occur to them that they compete with private labels too!
The following article talks about the growth of private labels in developed retail markets, their impact on the Indian organized retail segment over last few years and the resulting implications for the Indian retail marketers.

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When and How did the Retail Revolution began in India ?

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Organised retail in India, today holds only a fraction (6%) of the market share potential in India. It has risen from ZERO to 6% in a very short period mainly on Volumes and not a value-driven growth. The Bazaar shopping concept has retained its identity and character while the modern-day shopping structures represent an inspired fusion of main street shopping along with community centric activity. Today we are re-visting the Origin and History of Organized retailing in India.

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Reinventing Retail

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It's hard to believe that 15 years have passed since Amazon launched as an online bookstore. Back then, e-commerce was largely modeled on the brick-and-mortar experience, but now the reverse is beginning to happen. Retailers, however, have been slow to adopt digital technologies in-store, resulting in antiquated and sometimes frustrating shopping experiences.
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Monday, February 15, 2010

Indian to relaunch East India Company

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A Mumbai-born entrepreneur plans to relaunch the East India Company after strenuously acquiring shares in the firm that once ruled India.

With a $15 million investment and inputs from a range of experts, from designers and brand researchers to historians, Sanjiv Mehta, plans to open the company store in Conduit Street of the main Regent Street in the heart of London next month.

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Branded food cos ready to ‘Kraft’ fresh battle

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With the proposed foray of Kraft Foods Inc into India, the branded processed foods sector will soon witness a major tussle between Indian and international players. To take on new rivals, Gujarat Co-operative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF) and Godrej Hershey Food & Beverages Ltd (GHL) are drawing up fresh game plans which include extension of distribution network & product portfolio and modern trade retail initiatives.

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OTC Drugs - Flying off the shelf

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Pharmaceutical companies are writing a new prescription for growth in the $8.4 billion domestic pharmaceuticals market. Their over-the-counter (OTC) medicines—drugs which do not require a doctor’s prescription—are literally flying off the chemists’ shelves with brisk sales being recorded for food supplements, condoms, oral contraceptives, pregnancy determination kits, erectile dysfunction drugs, anti-dandruff medication, vitamins, pain killers and cough syrups.
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Of shrunken pockets and frugal buys

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It was a year of consolidation for the retail sector, which was badly hit by the global economic turmoil and liquidity crunch. Purchasing power of consumers fell, as some lost their jobs and others witnessed pay cuts. This had an adverse effect on companies across the board, as consumers reduced their discretionary spending and impulse purchases.

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The Death of the Plug? WiTricity in the Retail Environment

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For years, scientists have been looking for new ways to free our electrical appliances from unsightly cables, batteries and chargers and introduce a new wireless form of power supply. But what would happen if this wireless power supply broke out of everyday electrical equipment and made its way into the retail arena? Could we see the beginnings of a new shopping revolution? Or would the technologies introduction prove too costly for the average retailer?

Within the past decade, the introduction of wifi technology has revolutionised how and where we can access the internet and how we socially interact with those around us. It is this same technology that is in the forefront of a new revolution, the wireless power supply.

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Sunday, February 14, 2010

Sears Canada turns to Web for ‘endless aisle'

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Tucked away on the seventh floor of Sears Canada Inc.'s flagship store in downtown Toronto is a room filled with computers and youthful e-commerce specialists whose work may hold a key to better times for the retailer.

Internally it's known as the war room, a hub of activity where members of the 80-strong Sears e-commerce team converge to plot the company's online strategy. For eight months last year, they worked behind closed doors – sometimes round-the-clock – to test and redesign prototypes for the re-launch of Sears.ca in October. Now they're focused on updating the website with new products and interactive features.

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Food Outlets in Malls - Whipping up appetite to shop

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This one is particularly tricky. More so, because there is hardly any statistical evidence for or against the hypothesis—do food joints in malls help drive retail sales? Will Pareto’s 80:20 rule of thumb hold valid in this case? Maybe yes, maybe no! While in the wake of recession, buying another bag became a ‘luxury’, eating out was a ‘comfort’ worth indulging in. People didn’t stop eating out; they just started eating out less often. “An average consumer eats out seven times in a month. Half the instances of eating out are standalone events. At other times, eating out is clubbed with shopping, watching a movie or simply to catch up with friends and relatives,” says Saloni Nangi, VP, Technopak Advisors. The recent Technopak study also points out that 23% of people engaged in shopping while eating out.

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Dollar rises after retail sales report - Feb. 12, 2010

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The dollar rose against major currencies Friday after a report showing retail sales improved in January and as investors continued to worry about economies abroad.
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Badshah Mall - Big dreams in Mumbai’s Dharavi slum

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Hayad Ansari, a small-time Mumbai builder, has spent every evening of late watching his team of painters and decorators putting whitewash on his new Badshah Mall.

Each of its four storeys has been adorned with bright orange and yellow cladding and wide glass windows – just like any other of the hundreds of malls found along Mumbai’s shopping streets.

But in one way Badshah Mall is different – it is right in the middle of Dharavi, Mumbai’s most notorious slum.

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TPG eyes stake in Vishal for Rs 250 cr.

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Global private investment firm TPG has evinced interest in acquiring a majority stake in crisis-hit Vishal Retail, which has gone in for corporate debt restructuring (CDR). Investment banking sources said TPG has made a Rs 250-crore offer for the stake held by Vishal Promoter and Chairman Ram Chandra Agarwal before the CDR cell. Agarwal and other promoters hold 60.23 per cent stake in the company. The TPG proposal values the beleaguered apparel retailer at Rs 417 crores.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Future Group to expand ''Sach'' range

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Retail major Future Group today said it will expand product offerings under its ''Sach'' brand, which is inspired by ace cricketer Sachin Tendulkar, and plans to launch health drinks, kids wear and casual dressings in apparel category. "There will be a co-ordinated effort to expand the Sach brand''s presence at outlets and also across categories," Future Brands CEO and Managing Director Santosh Desai said.

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Tata Teleservices, Future Group tie up for new GSM brand

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Kishore Biyani’s Future Group is making a vigorous push to increase its share in the fruit and vegetables business, a category that
has traditionally been an Achilles heel for the country’s largest retailer.

The group behind supermarket chains such as Food Bazaar and Big Bazaar is forming a specialised entity that will set up and manage an efficient supply chain for fruits and vegetables (F&V), marking a shift away from the outsourced model it has followed so far.

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Another luxury partnership from abroad goes kaput

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Aigner, the German luxury brand, and Genesis Luxury, the up-market retailing arm of Genesis Colors, have ended their tie-up in the country, as their plans did not go as expected, said a person close to the development.

Genesis and Aigner had agreed in 2007 to import and distribute merchandise. The partnership ended last month. Genesis Luxury, which ran the Aigner stores in Mumbai and Delhi (three in all), has shut these, through mutual agreement.

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Overview of Retail Sector 2009

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Internationally India‘s retail sector ranks fifth, growth wise. It is one of the most attractive sectors for investment and in fact is one of the reasons for India to recover from recession so quickly. At a time when the entire world was bit by the recession bug India still put up a decent performance by maintaining a GDP of 7-8 % and the Indian retail industry too has proven to have a powerful grip on the Indian economy. If one analyses the performance of the retail sector for this year, i.e. 2009, one can say that the efforts have been commendable and the results quite visible.

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Friday, February 12, 2010

Food brands and retailers: Private labels get branded push

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The next time you reach out for a store brand of noodles at Reliance Fresh or Aditya Birla Retail’s More, turn the pack over, you may be suprised to learn that it is manufactured by the makers of Top Ramen. As private labels edge out greater shelf space for themselves across retail chains, the undercurrent battle between food brands and retailers continues to simmer. But a few FMCG players such as Indo Nissin Foods, Schreiber Dynamix Dairies and others namely Mrs Bector’s Food Specialities, Gee Pee Foods and Bonn Foods would rather see it as an opportunity.

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India’s top brands plans to increase apparel price and introduce premium lines

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‘Apparel retailer’ is the only sector which has been left divided due to desertion economic downturn. As the market is recovering India’s top brands are stepping up to increase prices and introduce premium lines. Whereas, on the other side, foreign brands plans to hold on the lower prices of last year or cut the rates some more.

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Capital Foods to buy all Sanjeev Kapoor brands

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Capital Foods, a fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) company, is set to acquire all brands of chef Sanjeev Kapoor to introduce a new line of products in the ready-to-eat segment, frozen foods, jams, pickles and papads. Kapoor will also join the board of directors of Capital Foods, according to a source.
Ajaay Gupta, managing director of Capital Foods, confirmed the development and said that all ‘Khana Khazana’ brands by celebrity chef Sanjeev Kapoor were going to be a part of Capital Foods. “Sanjeev as a valuable expert in the culinary industry will bring in his knowhow,” he said.
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Future Group closes in on acquiring domestic FMCG firm

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Kishore Biyani-promoted Future Group is understood to be in advanced stage of negotiations to acquire a domestic FMCG firm, as it looks to push its expansion in the foods segment and clock a turnover of Rs 1,000 crore in the next three years.
"We are actively pursuing acquisitions and you will hear from us on that front," Future Group CEO Kishore Biyani told reporters here when asked about the firm's acquisition plans.
He said acquisition is part of the group's plan to grow in the fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) foods segment.
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TTSL in franchisee deal with Future Gr for new GSM brand

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Tata Teleservices today entered into a franchisee agreement with retail giant Future Group to offer GSM mobile telephony services under a new brand T24 to tap the loyal customer base of the Kishore Biyani firm.

"This is a franchise model. Under the partnership, Future Group will sell TTSL GSM connections under the brand name T24 to customers in its retail outlets," Tata Teleservices Ltd (TTSL) Managing Director Anil Sardana told reporters after launching the service.

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Reliance Brands to launch first Diesel store in March

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One-and-a-half years after signing a joint venture (JV) with Italy's Diesel, Reliance Brands, part of Mukesh Ambani's Reliance Retail, is set to open the first Diesel store in the country, in March.
Diesel is a top name in apparel and related personal consumer products. Headquartered in Molvena, northern Italy, it has presence in 80 countries, with 5,000 points of sale and more than 300 single-brand stores.More...

US Retail sales get a boost online

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Retail sales rose in January, driven by strength in discount retailers and online merchants, according to a government report Friday.

The Commerce Department said total retail sales edged up 0.5% to $355.8 billion last month, compared with December's revised decline of 0.1%. Economists surveyed by Briefing.com had anticipated that January sales would grow 0.3%.

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Walmart Food-Bag Consolidation Leaves Out Glad, Hefty - Advertising Age - News

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In the latest of a growing wave of brand consolidations, Walmart has sent Glad and Hefty bags packing from its food-storage shelves. Similar decisions are likely to play out across other categories over the course of the year, as Walmart steps up efforts to streamline brand assortments, often to the benefit of its fast-expanding Great Value brand and national brands that survive the vetting.

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Top Consumer Goods and Retail Supply Chains for 2009

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Who has the top consumer packaged goods and retail supply chains?

Each year, SCDigest reports on the annual survey results from Cannondale Associates, which ranks the top consumer packaged goods industry supply chains and the top retail supply chains in the primary store segments that sell those packaged goods products.

The full Cannondale survey and report, which it calls PowerRankings, was released in late 2009 and covers a number of company performance measures for both consumer goods manufacturers and retailers, including such areas as brand power, marketing programs, sales teams, overall business fundamentals, etc., as well as supply chain.

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Thursday, February 11, 2010

India Economic Potential at Six-Year High, Singh’s Adviser Says

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ndia is poised to resume its record pace of expansion, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s top economic adviser said, as global companies flock to the fastest-growing major economy after China.
“I feel as encouraged now as I was six years ago,” Chakravarthy Rangarajan, chairman of the Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council, said in an interview in New Delhi today. The economy may grow 8 percent in the year starting April 1, he said.

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Levi’s instalment plan catches on in apparel

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It seemed like a clever marketing gimmick when Levi Strauss (India) Pvt. Ltd offered an instalment plan in September for people buying its jeans and other products.
But the move has worked well enough to be emulated, as leading apparel brands explore ways to make products more affordable to drive up sales.


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View of Online E-Commerce in India - Under a Microscope

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The phenomena that world is fast shrinking into a Global Village because of Internet and other communication mediums is not completely reflective in the Indian context. While developed and fast developing countries have understood the power of Internet, India still has a long way to catch up. Internet has brought nearly the entire world just a click away from us. The retail industry canvass has been repainted by Internet and the rules of the game in retailing are fast changing.

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The Fight over Prices on the Internet

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On some pages of e-commerce sites selling products like televisions, digital cameras and jewelry, a critical piece of information is conspicuously missing: the price tag.

To see how much these items cost, shoppers must add the merchandise to their shopping carts — in effect, taking it up to the virtual register for a price check.

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How Valentine’s Day Helps the Economy

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For many Valentine’s Day is something of a Hallmark Holiday but whether you take it seriously or not, one thing’s for certain. The money earned from all those flower, perfume, and candy sales can have powerful repercussions for the economy. Cupid will be busy this year. The ubiquitous, pudgy winged icon is expected to elicit over $14 billion in much-needed consumer spending this Valentine’s Day according to the National Retail Federation’s (NRF) 2010 Valentine’s Day Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey. That works out to approximately $103.00 on average per person for traditional Valentine’s Day purchases.

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Online flower prices still grow and grow...

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If you study hidden fees and price distortions for a living, Valentine's Day is your Super Bowl. Can you name another industry where the true price of an item is routinely more than double the advertised price? Yet that's precisely what you'll encounter this week, when you realize that Valentine's Day is Sunday and you'd better get your order in fast.
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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Social Media Primarily Attracting Loyal Customers

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A new study confirms that consumers are increasingly connecting with their favorite online retailers through social media sites, particularly Facebook. But most of those "friending" or "following" online retailers are already loyal customers.

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Customer Preferences Are Driving Cross-Channel Retail Strategies

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"If retailers operate their channels as separate business units that never converge, it is difficult to contemplate an organizational set-up that can plan and execute a single brand identity. Besides business unit coordination, IT plays an essential role in unifying channels," says Sahir Anand, primary author and research director, Aberdeen.
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Why Generation Y isn't buying your products

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I represent Generation Y, or Millennials as we are often called. While we may seem fickle, limited and spoiled to most retail professionals, we’re quite the contrary. Our lifestyle and shopping habits will determine the sales revenue of the retail industry, affecting everyone from big-box retailers to mom-and-pop stores, for the next 15 years. We are responsible for the return of our nation’s thriving economy.
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Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Biyani to mix food brands into one company

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Pantaloon Retail, the nation’s largest retailer, plans to spin off at least five of its brands and merge them with Capital Foods, as Kishore Biyani looks to consolidate the foods businesses under one company to get ahead of global giants Nestle and Kraft with his home-grown recipes’ such as pav bhaji masala and lemon pickles.

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Diesel fuelling denim aspirations in Indian market

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Italian fashion brand Diesel will launch in India by the third week of March in partnership with Reliance Brands Ltd, a unit of Reliance Industries Ltd. Diesel SpA has been trying to enter India since 2007, but its previous joint venture with Arvind Mills Ltd fell through.

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Monday, February 8, 2010

Job Opening - Reliance Petroleum General Managers – Recruitment (Corporate)

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To cater to the urgent need for senior level talent (across domains / specializations / functions) due to retrials, succession planning, business expansions & diversifications, the Company wishes to enhance it’s in-house recruitment capabilities with the appointment of GENERAL MANAGERS who will be responsible for sourcing of senior personnel in the following verticals.

Details here...

Walmart gears up for global online push

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Walmart, the world’s largest retailer, has set up a new global e-commerce unit that it says will be tasked with driving online growth in new and existing markets, while reorganising its US Walmart.com business to bring it closer to its physical operations.

In a memo to Walmart staff, Eduardo Castro-Wright, head of Walmart’s US stores, said the new Global.com unit would seek online growth “both in developed markets where we currently have stores and an online presence and in markets where we don’t”.

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Biyani eyes bigger play in FMCG

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The Kishore Biyani-led Future group is changing gears. In line with its vision to straddle the entire range of fast moving consumer goods (FMCG), the firm is focussing on three different touch points.

From an acquisition — aimed at securing a larger berth in the FMCG category — to setting up two specialised food parks and increasing FMCG penetration by launching new products in tie-ups with Sachin Tendulkar and Sanjeev Kapoor, Biyani is going the whole hog. A new range in the private label kitty spanning edible oil and ethnic food is also in the pipeline.

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Confessions of a Retail Manager OR I am a Professional Tongue Biter

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Working in retail is by no means a glamorous job, but it is honest, decent work, and if you stick with it, the best way for those of us who decided college was overrated to make a real living. (And yes, dear reader, I do realize the college decision was ill advised.)

The worst thing about being in retail has to be the stigma attached. Unless the person on the other side of the counter works in retail themselves, he or she invariably thinks they are better, smarter, richer, more cultured, more refined and in general, just more worthy of any sort of respect.

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Super Bowl Ads Reach for the Funny Bone

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The Super Bowl of advertising also took place last night. Thirty-second spots sold for a minimum of $2.5 million although some fetched more than $3 million.

Many ads featured the typical Super Bowl fare of animals and guy humor although a few took creative risks.

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Store Brands or Leading National Brands. Which would you buy?

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You may be a brand aficionado, but if a product is about 50 per cent cheaper in a department store, you'll be tempted to check it out. If it is a big-ticket expense like a convection microwave and the private label is Koryo, which is backed by the reputation of the Future Group's Big Bazaar, you may even want to buy it. But will it be a better deal than a Samsung or an LG?More...

Retailers seek access to foreign capital

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"Foreign institutional investment and venture capital fund inflow should be made available for the sector. Also, retail as a sector should get industry status, so that it gets on the radar of the banking industry. Then we can have easier access to funds."

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Reliance Dairy Foods eyes larger slice of life- Retailing-Services

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Reliance Dairy Foods, a subsidiary of Reliance Retail, is muscling into the country’s branded milk product market with a new brand that will take on established players such as Amul, Mother Dairy, Nestle and Gowardhan by offering higher margins to retailers and 10% extra milk to customers.

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Sunday, February 7, 2010

The M-Class quotient

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Take the following test to find out if your place in the world is in the middle.
The size of the pay packet doesn’t matter. Deep down, one may be middle class. It’s a state of mind that affects people, irrespective of age, gender or whether you are Lakshmi Mittal. Take the middle-class test. If you score above 10 — that is, show any 10 of the characteristics listed below — well, congratulations!

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Where mundus and jeans share shelf space

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If Ashni Biyani, director of Future Ideas in Future Group, has her way then the residents of Malleswaram would celebrate their Ugadi festival in Big Bazaar this year.

Following the path of her father Kishore Biyani, who introduced the mall culture in India with Pantaloon, Ashni Biyani wants to take shopping to the next level.

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Why You Should Abandon Having An Online Retail Store

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With the struggling economy, I hear a lot of independent bricks and mortar stores saying they need to build an online store. The image is millions of people perusing your products, shipping to exotic locales like Pacoima, Paris or Peru. A website delivering the amount of customers you lost in the last two years with low overhead.

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PM favours opening of retail trade

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Prime Minister Manmohan Singh favoured opening up of the retail trade stating the market requires greater competition for a check on prices.
"We need greater competition and therefore need to take a firm view on opening up the retail trade," Singh told Chief Ministers at a meeting convened to deal with the spiralling food prices.

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Internet in India - Business Trends: Retailers in India

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As an internet & online marketing professional I often come across many retailers and when I ask them why they don’t have a cohesive strategy for e commerce some of their usual refrains are:

Internet in India is small
Indians do not like to shop online
Channel conflict – This issue is generally raised by the Electronics/ Consumer Durable Brands that have very well established Dealer networks. They think that if they give lower prices online then they will have channel conflicts with their offline retailers which give almost 100% volumes and since internet doesn’t give them any sales, why on earth should they risk all for nothing?
ROI- Why should I invest in setting up e commerce portal when it will not give me any sales?

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Sales of top-shelf liquor on the rocks

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Americans’ love affair with top-shelf booze cooled last year as the recession took a toll on high-priced tipples.

People drank more liquor, but turned to cheaper brands, according to a report by an industry group. They also drank more at home and less in pricier bars and restaurants in an effort to save money.
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Tesco Bans Shopping in Pajamas

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By definition, especially as originally devised, pajamas are leisurewear. Also by definition, as we do not work and shop simultaneously, shopping is a leisure activity. Ergo, pajamas may be considered appropriate shopping attire.

Not at Tesco, however, where a branch has posted a ban at the entrance defining pajamas as nightwear that may be offensive to other shoppers. Notices outside the store near Cardiff, in Wales, warn that "Footwear must be worn at all times and no nightwear is permitted."

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Is 'Social Media for Business' an Oxymoron? - Retail News.

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As new marketing verbs like tweet, blog, and social networking permeate our thinking, we need to acquire a clarifying thought vocabulary that will allow us to grapple with emerging concepts and put the tools to appropriate and beneficial use. I'll take a first whack at it here. Perhaps some wise readers can build on these ideas.

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Lesson's from Starbucks success

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Who would have wanted to be in Starbucks‘ shoes a year ago? McDonald’s had launched low priced alternatives that had huge trial, the economy had stalled and consumers were balking at spending $4 per drink, even at a familiar place. Howard Schultz announced that the company had “lost its way,” becoming too standard and corporate and less entrepreneurial, less like a local coffee shop. The chain then closed stores on a broad scale for the first time. Would Starbucks even be around in 3 years, or would it take its place among the dearly departed, driven by the tough economy?

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