Thursday, June 07, 2007

Retail tail

The Indian retail story on the street seems to be going through a funny phase. Newer names are coming up, some stores are folding up, while others seem to be going through an identity crisis.

Subhiksha, touted as the next best thing to happen in Indian retail (even by streetside bloggers), suddenly seems to be going through a lean phase. The mango rain, has neither rain nor mangoes at some of the stores. Stocks are going down (it looked in between that this phase had been taken care of)- this is a dangerous thing to happen to a spartan model like Subhiksha. Consumers who walk in, are aware, if not right away after a couple of visits that this is a limited items store. You are not going to get the choice between too many brands and you have to pick what is available. On top of this, if you get to see empty shelves, it does not exactly build confidence in the brand. Vegetables, fruits are in short supply too, apart from regular groceries. Will Subhiksha see this through?

Big Bazaar on its part seems to have taken the "sasta" mantle too seriously. Sasta as a value proposition can only take them so far, they have to build on the quality aspect, if they need to attract more people. To use an old combination, "Sundar, Sasta, Tikau" (beautiful, cheap, durable) is the trident you need to capture the Indian consumer.

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