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cool retail

Discuss cool retail within the Articles !! forums, part of the Mirror View - Ebooks Links & Miscellenous Reading Material category; Piramyd Retail eyes 'global' JVs to take on rivals Stunned by a fierce competition, the Piramyd Retail, owned by the ...

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cool retail - November 22nd, 2006

Piramyd Retail eyes 'global' JVs to take on rivals


Stunned by a fierce competition, the Piramyd Retail, owned by the
Ashok Piramal group, is revamping its business operations, and has
initiated joint venture talks with foreign retailers to set up new
formats like speciality stores or hypermarkets.

Unlike in the past, its core brands, Piramyd and Trumart will now be
handled as separate business units (SBUs). The company is also
ramping up the number of stores under both outlets and has set up a
team to identify new business opportunities.

"We have realised that there is a lot of catching up to do and are
in a hurry to do that. We have tied up additional space in the last
one year. There is a complete change across functions in the way we
look at business and a lot of dynamism is being brought in. Our team
is in place and the growth focus is clear," said Nandan Piramal,
executive vice-chairman. While Bipin Gurnani will head Piramyd, ex-
Lever hand, Upamanyu Bhattacharya will head Trumart. The expansion
may be funded either through internal accruals or private equity.

Trumart is being positioned as an upscale kirana outlet with a focus
on local catchment areas. "Instead of setting up single stores
across cities, we are planning to progressively exhaust each city by
ramping up Trumart outlets in residential areas and building up
scale in each market. Grocery, home and personal care products are
high-volume-low-margin-business and it makes better business sense
to focus on scales to be competitive," said Mr Bhattacharya.

Currently, there are 7 Piramyd outlets and around 14 Trumart outlets
across the country. "We are also identifying differentiators for the
malls, from a first-mover advantage to the service aspect. We are
looking at personalising loyalty benefits targeting individual
consumer needs based on their previous buying patterns," said Bipin
Gurnani.


Piramyd Retail, which was listed on the bourses in '05 was one of
the first few retail outlets to open shop in the country. A few
years back it was seen as a strong competitor to players like
Shopper's Stop and Pantaloon.

However, lack of strong management focus and an unclear growth
vision saw the brand slipping at a time as competition picked up
steam in the last two years. Analysts say the company may seek
foreign equity partnership at a later point to keep pace with fierce
competition. "It is not something we are looking at immediately. For
now, our focus is to tone up the current core businesses, identify
new growth formats and ensure that support systems are in place to
gear up for the change in approach," Mr Piramal said.

The Piramal Group sold Crossroads to the Pantaloon Group and put all
future retail expansions under Crossroads on hold. Following the
merger of Piramal Holdings with Morarjee Realties, Crossroads had
been left out of the group's retail plans. All future retail forays
were to be done only through Piramyd, the retail arm of the Piramal
Group.
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Re: cool retail - November 22nd, 2006

Starbucks in talks with ADAG for India foray


Close on the heels of Mukesh Ambani's ambitious retail foray,
younger brother Anil is now learnt to be in talks with US coffee
retail chain major Starbucks to forge an alliance for the latter's
India foray.

Industry sources confirmed that the two companies are already in
advanced stages of discussion on the prospective retail formats and
other modalities.

This assumes importance as the $6.4bn Starbucks, the leading US
coffee retailer, recently announced plans to open its first outlet
in India in '07.

Earlier this month, Starbucks chairman Howard Schultz said, at the
company's Q3 result conference, "We are equally excited about two
other major markets we intend to enter during '07 — India and
Russia... We are in discussions with potential joint venture
partners in each of these markets. Meanwhile, we are scouting
locations, meeting with government officials — all toward gaining
additional market knowledge and building critical relationships to
make our market entries a success."

Commenting specifically on India, Mr Schultz added, "As the world's
second most populous country, with more than 1bn people and growing
at 6% per year, we see unique and great opportunity for bringing the
Starbucks experience to this market."

An e-mail sent to the Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group (ADAG) failed to
evoke a response. An e-mail query sent to Starbucks received no
answers either.

Retail seems to be the area where the two Ambani brothers are
beginning to tread on each other's toes. Apart from the plans on the
food and beverage retail front, Reliance ADAG is also learnt to be
planning a pharma retail foray. The company has started talks with
the All India Organisation of Chemists and Druggists for this.
Former Medicine Shoppe executive director Rajendra Gupta is learnt
to be heading the healthcare retail venture for the group.

Starbucks, which has about 3,000 coffee houses in 37 countries, has
a three-pronged expansion strategy for markets outside the US —
joint ventures, licenses, and company-owned operations. It was
reported to be in talks with real estate developer K Raheja group
for its India foray last year.

The Reliance ADAG is not new to retail either, operating a chain
coffee gourmet shops called Java Green situated inside its Reliance
Shops, formerly Webworlds.

With Starbucks' entry next year, India will add another cup to its
brewing coffee retail mart, which has seen the entry of Costa from
UK and Barnie's from the US recently.
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Re: cool retail - November 22nd, 2006

Will the Sustainability movement be successful in changing the retail


Sustainability is a concept whose time has arrived. In fact, it
arrived several years ago, although initially in the context of
environment, health, and safety (EHS) programs. Most of the leading
companies ascribing to the philosophy - those recognized by
Corporate Knights (a Canadian media firm) on its list of the Global
100 Most Sustainable Corporations - have been on this path for five-
to-10 years. Sustainability demands both a long-range perspective
and a long-term commitment.

Sustainability is all about delivering superior business solutions -
ones that are economically, socially and ecologically positive. This
is the Triple Bottom Line and is key to what sustainability is all
about:


Economic Benefits: Continuing to drive waste and cost out of the
value chain, and the desire to avoid further regulatory actions
which could constrain innovation.
Social Responsibility: Proactively addressing issues of worker
safety, wellness, and quality of life. It is more and more essential
for companies to have a work force that is increasingly productive,
stable, and motivated.
Ecological Improvements: Responding to increasing concern with
global warming, resource depletion, energy consumption, water usage
and other environmental impacts that could become global crises as
the earth's population mushrooms by an expected 40 percent in the
next four decades. The most aggressive companies have also seen the
opportunity to gain competitive leverage from these efforts.

The primary proponents for sustainability are representative of the
entire packaging value chain, from raw material suppliers (Alcoa,
Dow, Alcan, Stora Enso, etc.), to converters, to consumer packaged
goods firms (Unilever, Nestle, Dannon, Henkel, etc.), to retailers
(Wal-Mart, Albertsons, Target, etc.). Wal-Mart, in particular, has
put its suppliers, both product manufacturers and packaging for Wal-
Mart brands, under significant pressure to embrace its
sustainability goals.

A significant number of consumers are beginning to base buying
decisions on sustainability. The Natural Marketing Institute (NMI)
characterizes these leading edge consumers as the Lifestyles of
Health and Sustainability (LOHAS) group. According to NMI's web
site, LOHAS describes a $228.9 billion U.S. marketplace for goods
and services focused on health, the environment, social justice,
personal development and sustainable living. Approximately 30
percent of the adults in the U.S., or 50 million people, are
currently considered LOHAS Consumers.
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Re: cool retail - November 22nd, 2006

IT infrastructure


IT failing to streamline multi-channel operations
*Successful multi-channel retailing demands new IT infrastructure to
give
seamless integration across all customer touchpoints – but very few
retailers have the IT budget or inclination to tackle major
infrastructure
projects.

by Penelope Ody

*

As most IT directors will have long-since discovered, mention the need
for
new "infrastructure investment" at a Board meeting and the result is
likely
to be glazed expressions and incomprehension. Yet, according to Tanya
Lawler, ex-Argos and now vice-president of retail at Capgemini, a new
approach to infrastructure is vital if retailers really are to succeed
in
creating true channel integration that puts the customer first.

"Infrastructure investment has to be seen as a vital component of
multi-channel strategy," she says, "and is vital if businesses are
going to
integrate inventory or order management, for example, across channels."

Capgemini has been hosting a series of round tables for CIOs and CEOs
on
multi-channel strategies and policy and Lawler believes that too many
are
taking a short-term approach to channel development, while others are
simply
refusing to acknowledge that the bricks and mortar retail model they
have
known all their working lives is being transformed by technology. "They
are
keeping their heads down and hoping for an eventual upturn in trade,"
she
says, "but that isn't going to happen." As she points out, any major
retailer who has yet to implement a transactional website has already
fallen
"at least five years" behind its competitors.

"IT has to be seen as a revenue generator," she says, "and the problem
with
many big IT projects – like ERP – is that they do not generate revenue.
They
may reduce complexity in a business but they do not generate additional
revenue. IT infrastructure is complex and it is vital to understand
what it
needs to look like in a multi-channel world and then move towards that
while
focusing on where it can help to drive new business."

A key challenge for many will be the predicted demands of online trade
for
this coming Christmas. According to estimates currently being
formulated by
the IMRG, online sales in the UK are expected to reach between
£8billion and
£9.5billion this year – well ahead of last year's £5billion total.

Handling this volume of business will present a major challenge for
many
retailers due to poorly integrated inventory systems. In many cases
stock
will be located in individual stores rather than central warehouses
where it
can satisfy online orders. Unless retailers have systems in place to
direct
shoppers to their nearest store to collect goods that are "out of
stock" on
the website, for example, then there could be many disappointed
shoppers.
Equally, if customers cannot buy online and are not redirected to their
nearest branch then stores may well have to cope with surplus inventory
and
excessive markdowns in the clearance sales eroding margin still
further.

As Capgemini points out, traditional, long-established retailers are
most
likely to face constraints due to embedded technology with siloed
platforms
supporting each separate channel or elderly mainframes limiting
flexibility.
In contrast, newer entrants are likely to have simpler, integrated
infrastructures based on the latest technology so have an in-built
advantage
when it comes to multi-channel management.

However, while new-style infrastructure is essential, Capgemini
believes
that it is even more important to put understanding customers in pole
position and that this should drive the new model. "Even an established
multi-channel player like Argos has little understanding of individual
customers," says Tanya Lawler. "To Argos its customers are 'everybody'
and
the company doesn't record individual preferences. Successful
multi-channel
operations in future really will depend on understanding how customers
shop."

Today customers are just as likely to browse the web and shop in store
or
vice versa; they're likely to interact with call centres, mobile
marketing
or new TV-based options like SkyNet and they'll expect to have total
flexibility on when the goods are delivered or where they can be
collected
from store. Not only does the retailer need a single view of the
customer –
but the shopper needs a single view of the customer as well.

"Many retailers have appointed e-commerce managers or multi-channel
directors," adds Tanya Lawler, "but that's not really understanding
what is
happening. Both these job titles should be seen as transitional roles –
e-commerce and multi-channel are core retailing today and you can't
simply
create another siloed department
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Re: cool retail - November 22nd, 2006

ONE LEVEL TOO LOW








Know where you really stand...





Key learnings:
Why do managers work at one level lower than their designated
level?
Strategies to elevate to the right level of work.


The dynamics of corporate landscape has compelled even the hibernating
coporates to spring into action and work towards attaining optimum
levels of operational efficiency. In the wake of such frenzy and
vigour
for conquering pre-determined benchmarks corporates are being
pressurised increasingly to give their best shot at the very first go.


This pressure percolates down the hierarchy where directors, managers
and supervisors release it ultimately by adopting various measures of
staff management. One of the most natural but disturbing reactions of
directors and senior managers to circumvent the demands of today's
competitive work place is that of promoting employees.


This, may seem like a well intended move to keep employee morale high
in
times of uncertainty and organisational turbulence, but its impact on
business management can backfire if the management does not handle
such
promotions with prudence.


Most managers experience trouble when a paradigm change is proposed by
the top management. This is largely because most managers and
employees
are operating at one level below their real competency. Even when
promotions are bestowed managers and leaders delve rarely into the
roles
and responsibilities of employees at their current level.


Without the knowledge of their previous job profiles, it is rather
unwise to offer "titular promotions". We say titular, because it has
been observed often that managers end up doing these same jobs even
after promotion. The rise is basically in the designation but the
roles
and responsibilities are duplicated often, knowingly or unknowingly.


The situation is definitely alarming since it renders many job
positions
useless. It also results in lowered employee morale since employees do
not see any challenge in repetitive work. It has also been observed
that
managers and supervisors spend a significant chunk of their time in
searching for answers to the possible queries of their seniors. There
is
little importance given to concrete contributions made by employees to
bring about significant change or innovations for organisational
benefit.


It is assumed almost always that work of such strategic nature is the
top management's baby. However when employees are recruited they are
promised ideally challenges that seem like every professional's dream.
In reality they either operate at one level too low or are seen caught
up in the trivial operational details that could be handled by other
non-strategic staff.
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Re: cool retail - November 22nd, 2006

A rampant menace


The problem of managers doing work which can be dealt with at a level
lower than theirs in the corporate hierarchy is rampant. It is a
menace
that has been observed in most large corporations. The problem is less
prevalent in smaller companies since it is easier to keep a tab on the
job profiles and match them with the company requirements. The fear of
duplication looms large in large corporations.


There are multiple levels and managers in each of them are more or
less
doing the same job. Trickling down the hierarchy we see little
concrete
work being done at supervisory level. The nature of work is largely
clerical aimed at pleasing the boss. The shallowness of work being
done
across corporates is rather disturbing. Leaders need to define clearly
the jobs relevant to different corporate levels to maximise managerial
competence and accelerate to levels that managers truly deserve.


For instance it has been observed often that the job of a
vice-president
is done by a director while the job of a director is executed by
managers. In reality each of these designations has a different role
to
play. Vice presidents for example are entrusted with the future of the
company largely. Their job is highly strategic and involves high-level
decision making aimed at bringing about a quantum change through
corporate renewal. Likewise, directors are assigned
department-specific
tasks. Directors head functional segmentations within an organisation
and are expected to make a significant difference through their
functional contributions


Further down the hierarchy are managers, whose work is operational in
nature largely. The classification seems pretty natural and simple.
However, it is rather shocking to learn from many research reports
that
the percentage of organisations that let people work to the right
level.
is negligible. Most of us, are working one level too low for our might
and calibre.
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Re: cool retail - November 22nd, 2006

Elevating to the right level


The problem is rampant but tacit. Hence, it is not talked about often.
However the implications and symptoms of the problem are beginning to
get pronounced. More and more corporates are realising that operating
at
lower levels than intended can affect organisational effectiveness
adversely.


The following actions suggested by management experts can help
organisations operate at the right levels:
Chalk out a plan of action


Defining clearly the responsibilities of a particular job and
allocating
sufficient time budget to these positions can help employees get a
better perspective of their jobs. In addition leaders should follow up
with a feedback session to discuss progress regarding the
pre-determined
jobs.
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Re: cool retail - November 22nd, 2006

Create a balanced job description


Every job should be divided into two parts One part of it should be
attributed largely to the regular operational commitments while the
other part should compel employees to become creative and pursue
change
in their own way.
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Re: cool retail - November 22nd, 2006

Train to retain


Providing employees with adequate training so that they find it easy
to
take on new roles and operate at their optimum levels of efficiency is
important for sustaining overall business performance levels.


Leaders who can identify operating levels of their staff and elevate
them to the right levels can make a huge difference to organisational
working.
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Re: cool retail - November 22nd, 2006

US coffee chain Barnie's comes to India


US-based coffee store chain Barnie's on Thursday entered the Indian
market with plans to invest close to Rs 75 crore (Rs 750 million) to
open 300 stores across the country in the next five years.

"Barnie's opened its first store in Noida and we are looking at
setting up 25 stores in the country in the first year itself with an
investment of about Rs 25 crore (Rs 250 million)," Barnie's India
Managing Director Gaurav Marya told PTI.

The company has plans to increase the number of stores to 300 in the
next five years and has earmarked an estimated Rs 75 crore for its
expansion plans, he said, adding that the company is looking to
clock a turnover of Rs 50 crore (Rs 500 million) in the initial
three years of operations.

Cities where the stores would come up are Bangalore, Mumbai,
Chandigarh, Jalandhar and Lucknow.

While Barnie's would initially set up company owned stores, Marya
said they would also look at the franchisee model in the coming
years. "It is important for us to put our operations in place and
set up the entire supply chain first. We would look at all options
but we are not in a hurry to adopt the franchisee model," he added.

With an eye on the domestic coffee retailing market, Marya said the
company is working out the details in this regard.

"Packed coffee retailing would be a small part of our business
initially but it is definitely one of the significant business arms
for us," Marya said.

However, the company would launch its bottled cold coffee in
supermarkets and stores across the country by December this year, he
added.
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