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Small Chains of Kolkata Shrug Slowdown – Shagun + Savera Sarees + Lederland + Dhanuka

March 10, 2009


shagun wedding mallYou have already read that PAN India retailers are facing significant slowdown or shut down. One of our Associates did a retail reality check with small or independent retailers in Kolkata and the findings suggest that they are affected by the slowdown but not as much as their Large competitors.

Shagun a Wedding Mall of 20,000 sft is likely to register a turnove of Rs 20 cr for FY09 which is higher than Rs 17.5 cr it did in the last FY. Mr. Khaitan of Shagun is of th view,

Thankfully we have already crossed our last years revenue and out business has not ben affected that much, simply because we are into wedding wear. Even now consumers go overboard when it comes to shopping for the bride and groom. The meltdown dos not matter as shopping for bride and groom is based more on requirement. However, business from NRI customers was low this year.

Shagun did see some markdown in its sales target and is going for a discount sale on all its merchandise to woo shoppers.

Savera Sarees one of the speclized Lifestyle retailers for the Women witnessed a modest slowdown of 20%. This Park Street retailer has opened the doors of discount ranging between 15-25%. The mood in the store is customers are just buyng as per needs and the willingness to BUY expensive items is missing.

Now moving on to the jewellery market, retailers are expnading thir folio to include budget friendly variants such as lightweight designs, silver jewellery and costime jewellery. Pricing has been changed to include the Youth. Mr. Dey of Subhas Brothers said,

We are giving attractive discounts on manufacturing charges and offering various gifts on purchase of certain amount. Since the jewellery business is based on trust we can’t offer discounts like Apprel retailers do but we give a cut to the customer from our own margin.

Lederland a retailer in Leather Goods and Accessories having two stores in the city however, had a different story to tell. His sales are moderate but the future is uncertain. Mr. Ajluwalia said,

With customers becoming more price conscious, the volume of sales is taking a hit. Consumers are in no mood to BUY anything overtly expensive. With the middle class under stress of job market, they are shifting to local retail shops which offer quality assurance at reasonable pricing.

When it comes to Furniture, S.T.Unicon retailer feels that the market seems to have gone into Hibernation. But this sector has got to do more with the Real Estate which is the worst affected in the Indian Economy. Mr. Kanodia MD of the company said,

Today if we are feeling the heat it is because the real estate sector is affcted and white collar jobs have been affectd. Broadly speaking the MIg and LIG spending patterns have changed but there is a lot of expectation from the year ending.

Dhanuka menswear retailer thinks this time is an opportunity to build a raltionship with customers and do some long term planning to fight the biggers guys on the turf later. The company is sending out mailers and SMS messages to keep in touch with customers. To woo them to shop, they are trying to greet th customers on special ocassions like Birthday and Anniversary. Indeed, this is a fantastic approach to retain him on your platform selling him the lifestyle products and better consumer experience.

So is size a bane during economic slowdown or is it because that Indian retailers have not fully organized from sourcing to store keeping and got carried away by the wind that they are facing terrible times ?

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