Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Lane Bryant Catalog has a new name

The Lane Byant Catalog has changed its name to Woman Within, according to a press release.
Woman Within is a familiar name to the customer, as it has been a successful intimates catalog for the past fifteen years, and embodies the spirit of our customer who already counts "Woman Within" among her favorite brands. Redcats USA confirmed that the customer recognized Woman Within as synonymous with comfort, good fit and suitable style, which made the selection of this name an ideal choice.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Gavel Fashions plans to open 60 stores

Essel Group’s retail division, Gavel Fashions Ltd announced that it will be opening 60 stores and targeting a turnover of Rs. 3 billion over the next three years. The company’s first store will open in Delhi next month. Other cities where Gavel will open stores are Mumbai, Bangalore, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Chandigarh and Ludhiana.

Gavel Fashions will focus on the luxury retail segment, especially on international apparel and fashion accessories. In this regard, the company will also be bringing in 20 global brands to India, of which agreements for 2 menswear brands from Italy have already been signed.
Source: The Economic Times

Offshoring in retail likely to boom

The Economic Times reports that the offshoring industry is seeing a boom due to the rush of international retailers heading to India, to source products as well as their core processes. At present the retail offshoring industry is worth around $500 million and is likely to double in the next 2-3 years.

Traditional back end and front office processes such as HR, finance and customer support are already being done and now core processes such as merchandising planning, training, supply chain management, loyalty programme management, store administration and customer analytics are also being sent to India by major retailers.

According to S Sabyashchi, senior director at Bangalore based consultancy neoIT,
“Retail offshoring will create an entirely new cadre of workforce, who will have the relevant skill sets and knowledge about retail processes as adopted by global retail giants. Indian retailers can then leverage these skill sets and process knowledge to further their cause.”

Aditya Birla Group’s retail plans

The Aditya Birla Group’s retail foray is estimated to have a $2 billion investment. The company will focus on private labels manufactured by its companies, Century Textiles, Grasim and Madura Garments. Its brands such as Allen Solly, Louis Phillipe, Van Heusen, Peter England and SFJeans are expected to grow between 25-30% per year, tripling by 2010. The company is planning to have a mix of hypermarkets and departmental stores, which will be an extension of Madura Garments.
Source: NDTVprofit.com

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Creating a rural market

At a seminar on ‘Rural empowerment – Entrepreneurial skills development’ organized by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) in Chennai, R Seshasayee, President of the organization said the companies must look towards the urban and rural areas of India as one unified mass, instead of separate entities as it is now.

He emphasized that rural aspirations are not different from urban ones and added that "Growth will come only from rural markets. By creating a market for products in rural areas, we can truly empower the rural masses." At the seminar, CII and Hand-in-Hand, a local NGO released a manual on helping Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) on setting up businesses, skill training, mentoring, accounting and maintaining records.

Source: The Hindu Business Line

Crossword aims to enter new markets

The Hindu Business Line reports that Crossword Bookstores plans to set up stores across the country, opening 7 stores by the end of this financial year, to reach a total of 45 stores. The company plans to have 100 stores by the end of the next financial year. Crossword operates on three formats; corner stores, brand stores ranging form 3,000-8,000 sq ft and flagship stores of over 8,000 sq ft.

The company plans to focus on the South with new stores coming up in Bangalore, Coimbatore, Kochi and Hyderabad. In the north, Chandigarh and Nagpur will have new stores opening soon. Rather than just selling books, Crossword aims to become a part of the community, organizing cultural and social events for authors and book lovers.

Landmark Group plans expansion

The Economic Times reports that the Landmark Group has planned its expansion in anticipation of international retail giants such as Wal-Mart and Tesco likely to enter the Indian market. The company plans to increase its base of its existing retail formats, Lifestyle, Home Centre and Max as well as form agreements with international brands for apparel and footwear brands.

Sundar Raman, Indian operations president (Finance) added that the company is also looking to launching hypermarket format as well as concept stores for high fashion apparel, children and footwear segments. The company will be investing an estimated Rs. 7.75 billion by March 2009, of which Rs. 4.50 billion will be for expanding Lifestyle and Home Centre and Rs. 1.50 billion for Max Retail, its newest retail venture.

Landmark currently has 9 Lifestyle stores, 2 Home Centre outlets and 4 Max Retail stores, which it plans to increase to 25, 9 and 35, respectively. Lifestyle stores will be spread over 60,000 sq ft, Home Centre stores will range from 20,000-40,000 and Max Retail will cover close to 20,000 sq ft of space.

A new retail venture the company is working on is called Splash, a high fashion apparel chain, which will be spread over 15,000 sq ft and have a mix of private labels. Splash will target up-market consumers in metros such as Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore. Landmark’s is also the franchisee for Kappa and Bossini, both international sportswear and casualwear brands.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

A new way to store valuable information

As we rely on technology more and more over the years, here's another thing that you can now do online. KeepYouSafe is the first Online Safe Deposit Box, where you can keep copies of all your important paperwork such as passports, credit cards, insurance, wills and so on. The service is completely secure as it is encrypted with servers in several countries. When you start out, you will get a small online safe deposit box for a year, which you can upgrade to a larger size the following year. There is no software to be installed to use this service, is certified to be HackerSafe and is protected from disasters.

Digital retailers on the upswing

The Economic Times reports that Indian and Asian consumers are buying gadgets and gizmos at an increasing rate. Ten years back, only 11% of rich Asians had laptops, while in 2006 an estimated 35.7% own laptops. According to a survey conducted by market research company Synovate, an increasing number of respondents will be purchasing computer related merchandise in the next 12 months.

Steve Garton, Global Head of Media for Synovate, said,
“The survey shows how digital has taken off - and taken a firm hold - among the affluent population.” The mobile phone ownership has moved from 46.8% to 86.3% over 10 years (a rise of 84%), and is much higher in some of the markets surveyed. Singapore’s mobile phone ownership is 95% and Hong Kong, Sydney, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Seoul and Taipei all have over 90% ownership.”

Making the most of your logo

Having a logo that stands out from the rest of the crowd is becoming ever more essential in today's graphic savvy world. With the progress in technology, computer users have an increased access to creating interesting and creative logos. One such company that specializes in this service is Logo Stick. The company has logo designs for all uses, be it letterheads, business cards or anything else.

The products are reasonably priced and are extremely professional to look at, not something one would normally associate with an online company. Logo Stick does a lot of work with small businesses, who often don't have enough money to put towards the look of their company name and logo. Logo Designs are separated by 300 categories and styles, and you'll be surprised to find just how easy it is to get started in choosing the right logo for your business.

LifeKen buys Pill & Powder

The Hindu Business Line reports that LifeKen is now the largest branded drug chain in Bangalore with its purchase of Pill & Powder’s 11 stores. According to MC Kini, CEO, Co-promoter and Director of Lifetime Healthcare Ltd, the decision to purchase Pill & Powder "… is an important milestone in our journey towards expanding to 200 stores over the next one year and 700 stores in the next three years." The company is yet to decide whether to keep the ‘Pill & Powder’ brand or change it. With the acquisition, the company is expecting its Rs. 18 crore turnover to climb to Rs. 80-100 crore.

Optimize your results

Search Engine Optimization is one of the most used phrases these days. It is usually always used in connection to being having a successful online business, one of the golden keys to having the right combination of factors that make you strike it rich. Since search engine optimization is a constantly changing game, it is essential to keep up to date and be current.

Search Engine optimization and online marketing blog SEO'Brien is a great source of information on all topics related to search engine marketing and optimization. The blog is written by Paul, Head of Online Marketing of HP's direct consumer business and formerly with Yahoo. Paul writes from a delightful town in California called Los Gatos, where I spent a couple of lovely days one summer in college. The SEO'Brien blog demystifys the concepts around SEO to make it user friendly and applicable, such as how to use comparison shopping, affiliate programs, banner media, RSS feeds etc.

Connecting words to images

I love playing word games, crosswords, sudokus and puzzles of all kinds. I had heard about this site called WordDisplay that displays likely images for any word that is entered. The fact that it can be as simple or as complicated as you want it to be, is very intriguing. For example, check out what is smart and what is stupid on WordDisplay today.

Retailers keen on setting up shop at airports

The Economic Times reports that Indian retailers are keen to be part of the modernization of airports in the country and are busy working on strategies on how to become a part of the emerging business of airport retail. Most companies can do so on two formats, either independently or through international partners.

The Future Group and Shoppers’ Stop have both formed JV agreements; other retailers like Landmark and Ebony are still exploring their options. Himanshu Chakrawarti, CEO of Landmark, said that the company was
“….currently finalizing our business plan. Spread over some 1,000-5,000 square feet, the stores will have a merchandise mix like travel-related books, maps, light fiction, self-help books as well as management books.”

Friday, October 27, 2006

Makeover your body

Another post on healthy lifestyle, this time focusing on exercise.

I saw an advertisement of the 6 week body makeover on the Internet and was quite intrigued. The program focuses on both weight loss and body shaping by customizing exercises specifically for your body and your requirements. I thought that was a really good idea, it's like having your own personal trainer. Besides the exercise routine, the plan also maps out your eating requirements and schedule, teaches you how to tackle problem areas and best of all its Living Lean Program trains you and your body how to carry on living and eating healthily. Considering the amount of products, the 6-Week Body Makeover comes with, it seems like a really good value for money spent.

Kids market is hot

The Economic Times reports that the market in India is said to be one of the largest kids segments with a variety of sectors such as apparel, FMCG’s, games and toys. The kids market is estimated to be worth Rs. 20,000 crore and is likely to grow at 25% per year. CII will be organizing Kidex’06, from December 22-24, 2006 in Chennai to highlight the potential for growth in the market.

No more spam comments, thank you very much!

Comment Moderation has been turned on. So pls don't bother leaving advertisements disguised as comments. I will not be approving anything that resembles an advertisement of any product, service or personal blog. Do your own work people, promote yourself on your own blog, instead of piggyback riding on someone else's.

Future Group hires Anshuman Singh

The Economic Times reports that the current CEO of Welspun India, Anshuman Singh has joined the Future Group as head of a new venture that is being planned for the value fashion segment and will join on the 1st of November, 2006. At Welspun, he was responsible for the company’s retail outlets, Spaces and the Welspun factory outlets. Prior to joining Welspun, he was head of supply chain and logistics at Pantaloon Retail, which has now been renamed as the Future Group.

A new way to connect to customers

This is interesting stuff. A company has come up with a way for online video advertisers to connect with viewers using text messages. When advertisers sign up with PocoTag, they receive a 5 digit code that is unique to them, along with a short SMS code for PocoTag. The advertiser then places a link at the bottom of text ads, such as SMS "poco 54321" to 12345 for more information. Interested customers can SMS the advertiser who will respond with a request for an email id to send the information.

Thursday, October 26, 2006


Buying gold was the traditional way of investing and is still followed very seriously in many parts of the world. In ancient times, gold was the premier metal, and was considered as the best way to preserve and build one's wealth. Egyptian, Greek and Roman kings and leaders all used gold as means to expand their kingdoms and show their strength to the world.

The question is really where to buy gold from that it is reliable, trustworthy and authentic. Monex Deposit Company (MDC) is one such place that offers clients a convenient and safe method to purchase gold bullion and will arrange for delivery at your designated location. MDC has over 30 years of experience in dealing with gold and other precious metals.

At Monex Precious Metals, the consumer is sure to get superior and quality service from its dedicated staff who are skilled and committed in dealing with hard asset management for products such as gold, silver and platinum. The company was founded in 1967 and is still run by the founding family.

Professional skills

In my junior year in college, we started practicing the interview process with mock interviews, first with teachers and then with company recruiters. To land a job, it is important to know all the basic interviewing techniques such as being organized and being on time. Time management is one of the most important things that college recruiters look at.

Candidates must show skill in organizing yourself in the office so that you are able to handle your responsibilities in an efficient manner, multi-task, delegate and be professional. I find that once I have organized my office, I complete assignments and work much better. Working on the Internet, especially for personal use is considered inappropriate in most offices, can lead to tricky situations and is best to be avoided.

Retailers using EMI schemes

The Economic Times reports that taking advantage of younger customer’s willingness to spend, retailers in Chandigarh and Punjab are using EMI and kitty schemes to increase customer spending. The first store to use this method was Genesis Colors, which has brand such as Satya Paul and Samsara. Only a select number of invitees were allowed who can put in a maximum of Rs. 2,000.

The success of the concept has led the company to launch the scheme in Pune, Amritsar, Ludhiana and possibly Delhi. Genesis Colors CEO Nalini Gupta, explained the reason for its success,
“We have seen how women, instead of saving for household things, are now keen to spend of designer wear. Also, the desire of youngsters is driving parents to come here and purchase.”

Jazz up your promotional advertising

In any business, being able to be noticed and remembered by others is the key to its success and longevity. Promotional and marketing activities are essential in today's world, just as good products and services are. Employees that get fun office gifts each time the company achieves its target or lands a big account are a great way to build the team spirit.

Although traditional marketing and advertising such as phone directory listings are good but getting some innovative advertising tips are much better. Being able to promote a business without spending too much money is not easy work, but the more creative you get, the better the results will be. Cheap promotional advertising is what makes all the difference in being noticed and standing out from the crowd of other companies doing the same thing and using the same advertising.

Malls offer space to offices

Business Standard reports that several malls in north India are offering space to offices as retail demand is not as fast. Pranay Vakil, chairman at Knight Frank India, says “This is because of the over-supply of retail space. When a mall offers space to an office, it is a sign of sickness.” Several cities such as Gurgaon are soon to have an over abundance of retail space, several of which are being converted to mixed use such as a hotel, retail and office space.
According to real estate researchers, over 110 million square feet of space will be available across India for the organised retail industry by December 2008. The retail boom is spreading to Tier-2 and Tier-3 cities and 361 projects are under way. Of this, 227 are in the top seven cities and the rest in Tier-2 and Tier-3 cities.

Besides, 35 hypermarkets, 325 large department stores and over 10,000 outlets are also under development.

The biggest mall is coming up in Noida. This project, Citi Center, will have 5 million square feet. In Mumbai’s eastern suburbs, three malls are coming up and each of them will have more than 1 million square feet of space.

“The new and upcoming malls must be innovative if they want to succeed,” said another real estate expert. For instance, in Dubai, Mall of Emirates maintains a pocket of minus 2 degree Celsius in the centrally air-conditioned premises. The objective is to offer a different experience to shoppers in the desert city.

“Malls in India must also start experimenting. Without innovation, it will be difficult for many large malls to survive,” he said.

So, what's your dream job?

After working in several different fields such as retail, a travel agency, food and restaurants (in college), I have come to understand what my dream job is. My dream business is actually what I do right now, freelance writing of white papers on retail, analyzing the retail scenario in India and South East Asia and writing for an amazing company based in Bangalore who gives me flexibility in the way I want to work and range I want to cover.

Eventually I would like to expand my work to other fields too and promote myself amongst the research community not only in India but across the world. A really simple but effective way to have your name seen would be to put my logo on my business checks, as they are an interesting way for your business to be promoted. In the holiday season, I would buy my vendors and clients some fun and cheap business chachkas for their office. To be successful working on your own from home, it is also not to skimp on office equipment and to have all your basic office and technological stuff such as computers, printers, routers, fax machines etc.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Buying the perfect diamond

Buying a diamond is a special time no matter what the occasion is an engagement, wedding, anniversary or birthday. One should never rush in and buy a diamond quickly without first thinking what you want to buy, if it is for yourself and what will suit the occasion and person perfectly, if you are buying a gift for someone else.

I found a really great diamond jewelry store online called Prime Style. They have a really great variety of diamond jewelry such as engagement rings, pendants, bracelets and earrings available at incredible prices, which are significantly lower than regular retail stores. Prime Style is located in Manhattan's famous diamond district, and it is said that once you visit them you'll never want to shop regular retail again.

Prime Style only stocks new items that have a certificate of appraisal from a 3rd party, all jewelry is made of sold metal and not just gold or silver plated, all diamonds are genuine and natural diamonds and of course if you are not satisfied with your purchase, there is a 15 day return policy. With a byline that states "where jewelry meets style", Prime Style is sure to impress you as it did me.

India becoming a destination for luxury shopping

Luxury brands are realizing the potential for selling to Indian customers. The number of potential households is estimated to be 1.6 million currently and along with increasing buying power and awareness of luxury brands, the Indian consumer is very concerned about the exclusive factor associated with buying high priced products.

While a few years ago, India’s rich spent their money outside the country, now they are shopping here in India. The Indian luxury market is still very small at $455 million, as compared to $2 billion in China but the Indian market is growing at a faster rate.

Besides Delhi and Mumbai, the rich are located in 8-10 other cities in India and despite higher prices for luxury goods in India, consumers are lapping them up faster than even the Europeans.

Source: CNN-IBN

TGIF makes expansion plan

US based TGIFriday’s will be expanding its operations to set up 35 stores in the metros as well as other cities in the next five years. The total investment required for the expansion will be Rs. 1.4 billion. Sanjoy Roy, executive vice-president (operations) for TGIFriday’s said that the company will be opening 5-6 stores each year to reach 40 stores after five years. At present there are TGIFriday’s in Bangalore, Delhi, Mumbai and Gurgaon and new stores are being planned for Chandigarh, Chennai, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Kolkata and Noida.

Source: Business Standard

Hiking in the Himayalas

Growing up in boarding school in the Himalayas, we had a lot of activities related to the outdoors, such as tree plantation to stop deforestation, collecting dried pine needles off the forest floor to prevent forest fires and general studies to achieve ecological balance. The entire school went for annual hiking and camping trips in the last week of April, usually in small groups of 15-20 students organized by class and house and accompanied by a teacher and a bearer.

Over the course of 7 years in boarding school, I went for hikes and camps to a variety of places, some by the river like Giripul and Rampur Bushehar and others height on top of mountains, such as Chansal Pass, Gangotri and Gaumuckh, the legendary source of the river Ganges, where we had to trek on glaciers. The last stretch to Gaumukh was especially tough, with the track barely a foot wide and the icy river below on one side.

On these hikes and camps, all students were responsible to carry their own supplies and help the bearer in carrying food and utensils to cook food in. At each halt, students were also responsible for collecting firewood, chopping vegetables and preparing the food. Having a good, dependable and sharp knife that was multi purpose such as pocket kniveswas essential so we were able to handle any kind of work for the one week we were at camp.

The school had a special stock of knives, such as Buck, Benchmade and Gerber for these camping trips. Although hunting was not required as part of these hikes and camps, students who were skilled in using a Bowie or with throwing knives were always appreciated. Being skilled in the knife sports is quite an essential for any serious hiking and camping expedition.

As Featured On Ezine Articles

Siyaram’s to launch new Ready-to-wear brand

Textile company Siyaram’s will be bringing out a new ready-to-wear (RTW) brand under the name Siyaram’s MSD, the initials stand for Monday to Sunday Dressing but also are the same as the new brand ambassador cricketer Mahendra Singh Dhoni, whose initials also match the brand’s name.

Ramesh Poddar, managing director of Siyaram’s said the target audience of the brand would be 20-35 years old. The brand will consist of formals, semi-formals, casuals as well as club and party wear. The company has decided to launch these products as the fabric market is growing at only 2-3%, while the RTW market is growing at 10-12%.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Liberty Group and Egana sign agreement

The Hindu Business Line reports that Indian footwear maker Liberty Group has signed an agreement with Egana Goldpfeil to bring out a line of watches, jewelry, leather and eyewear. Based on the agreement, the company will jointly open outlets in Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore next year. Egana’s portfolio includes brands such as Carrera, Pierre Cardin, Esprit, Cerruti, 1881, Junghans, Sioux, PUMA, Comtesse and Salamander.

Bose looks to tier II towns

Business Standard reports that the Bose Corporation India Private Limited (BPCIPL) will be opening 12 new stores in the next 18 months, focusing on tier II towns, with some of stores in cities where the company already has exclusive stores. Currently there are stores in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore and Hyderabad. New stores will be opening in towns such as Ahmedabad, Pune, Jaipur and Chandigarh. Sales in India are showing the highest growth rate in the Asia Pacific region.

Dream vacation home in Spain

A destination that is at the top of my list of places that I would love to have a vacation home is Spain. Ever since I read Iberia, James Michener's book on Spain, I have been very fascinated by the country, its people, its architecture, its history and of course its lovely vacation spots. My dream vacation home would be a white villa with masses of bougainvillea creepers, a patio, and a garden with a view of the ocean. The country has been a favored destination from people in the UK to buy a property in Spain and visit it as often as possible. Well, sometimes dreams do come true, so lets just see what happens!!

back from juneo

Back from our lightning trip to the hills in Himachal Pradesh. It was really great to be back in the Himalayas, where I grew up, attended boarding school, went for hikes and camps and vacationed. Although the trip was really hectic, it was really worth it. Any amount of time in the hills is better than no time at all, I feel. The weather changed overnight and became unseasonable cold due to snow and rain in the upper regions of the Himalayas, but we had plenty of firewood for a blazing fire all day.

Friday, October 20, 2006


Off to the hills for the holiday weekend.........back on tuesday, 24th october.

Mudra Lifestyles plans Rs. 2.2 billion expansion

Business Standard reports that textile company Mudra Lifestyle has made plans to expand its weaving, processing and apparel manufacturing facilities to cater to the current retail boom. The expansion cost is estimated to be Rs. 2.2 billion. The company wants to be able to meet orders from both domestic and international customers, once the expansion is complete. Mudra is one of the biggest manufacturers of shirts and supplies to major companies such as Wal-Mart, JCPenney, Rip Zone, Primetex, Albacco, Allen Flusser, American Models, American Julliet, Reliance, Raymonds, Killer, Lee and its own brand Madura Garments.

Lingerie brand Triumph plans expansion

Business Standard reports that Triumph which is currently available in 500 multi-brand outlets (MBOs), exclusive retail stores and franchisees, has now planned a major expansion to connect with consumers in the metro cities. The brand is currently available in only 51 cities, with metro cities such as Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore driving the growth.

Thorsten Allenstein spoke to Business Standard and said that
“The brand consciousness for Triumph is high among Indians. Much before we entered India in 2002, Triumph lingerie was available in the grey market. Our experience in the last four years has been good. By the end of this year, Triumph will be available in 20 more stores. Next year, 50 more stores will sell Triumph lingerie."

Reliance and Ansal tie up for anchor space

The Economic Times reports that Reliance has formed an agreement with Ansal Properties and Infrastructure (APIL) to take anchor spaces in malls developed by the company. Sources indicate that the first of these deals has already been signed for malls in Greater Noida, Palam Vihar and Gurgaon. So far, Shoppers’ Stop has always been the anchor tenants of most Ansal malls.

APIL had recently announced its plans to build 18 new malls, mostly located in tier II and tier III cities and with Reliance Retail focusing on smaller towns too, it’s a perfect arrangement.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Reliance Retail to expand across Asia and Africa

More news on Reliance Retail:
The Econimic Times reports that Reliance Retail will be making an entry to retail markets in countries such as Sri Lanka, Nepal, China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Philippines, Maldives, Kenya, Myanmar, Nigeria, Ghana and Tanzania. The company will be retailing specific products such as fresh fruits and vegetables, consumer electronics, household goods and garments that are sourced from India and China. Each location will have country specific retail operations that will open only once at least half of its India stores have been opened.

Reliance Retail not prepared for launch

Daily News & Analysis reports that, if sources are to be believed, all is not ready for the Reliance Retail launch and the company is having problems with training its staff and real estate problems, as realtors increased prices when they learnt that Reliance was looking for properties. Other systems such as IT or its supply chain are not in place either. The launch date of October 18th is said to be just a rumor started by the media. There is no official word on when the stores will be opening, by sources speculate that December is more likely.

Modern method to let go

While everyone knows about addiction to drugs and alcohol, addiction to pain killers is something people might not even realize is happening before its too late. In most cases, the pain killers are prescribed by a doctor so users generally do not even consider that they are getting addicted to the pain killers.

Getting away from any addiction is a tough job, but now a new alcohol, pain killers and drug detox method by the Meditox Drug Detox Center is available. The Meditox Drug Detox Center is offering a new way to overcome addiction, to painkillers such as Vicodin and OxyContin etc. The Meditox method does not involve any expensive hospital or rehab centers, but instead incorporates a new medicine called Suboxone (also known as Buprenorphine). Using this medicine, users can stay at home with family and do not need to be kept in isolated areas.

3 new FDI proposals cleared

The Hindu Business Line reports that the government has approved three new companies to enter the Indian market in single brand retailing via joint ventures. Spanish company Lladro Commercials will be investing Rs. 5.85 crore in Spa Agencies (India) to increase its equity from 26% to 49%. Sri Lanka based Damro Exports Private Ltd will be taking a 51% stake in Damro Furniture Private Ltd, a Chennai based company, to sell furniture under the Damro brand. Italian company Rino Greggio has also been permitted to set up a joint venture to sell silverware and other products. So far, a total of 22 FDI projects worth Rs. 896.25 crore have been cleared.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Optimizing your search results

Innovative communication methods are changing how companies are doing business these days. Interaction and connectivity are the key words to be aware of now and relying solely on traditional forms of advertising and promotion are not going to work anymore. In the past placing your company's ad in the business directory was enough to be noticed, but not so anymore. Promoting your website in the local community with promotional products is a better bet.

Companies now commonly use Google's AdWords programs to generate leads from keyword searches. But how can you ensure than your company link is placed at the very top of the organic or unpaid searches. Google has a system that places the 'most relevant' site at the beginning of its search results and how to make you site fit this criteria is key to generating additional leads.

Important factors are website content and popularity compared to other sites and maximizing your site to become a top ranked site is the key to winning this game. While small business owners might realize the importance of this, most are not able to make the necessary changes to achieve this. USWeb, on the other hand, understands the Search Engine Optimization system perfectly and knows how to make your site a top ranked one by search engines such as Google.

10 Nautica stores to be opened

Business Standard reports that at the opening of its third outlet in Chandigarh after outlets in Bangalore and Delhi, VF Arvind Brands Pvt Ltd announced that it will be opening 10 exclusive Nautica stores in the next two years. Nautica products will cover a range of men’s, women’s and children’s apparel and fashion accessories. It will also be bringing in a rage of sportswear for women and home furnishings.

Supplement reviews

Supplement Judge is one of the largest sources where you can find information on health, fitness and bodybuilding supplements. The company is just over a year old and has already built up a reputation of being the best place to find reviews and price comparisons on fitness supplements. By using the comparison shopping engine, users can fine the absolute best price for vitamins and supplements. Each product will have several reviews, with detailed descriptions of the product, its taste, effectiveness, price and overall value.

Fabindia plans to open 51 new outlets

Business Standard reports that apparel and home furnishing company Fabindia, will be opening 51 stores across the country to reach a total of 100 stores. The expansion is estimated to cost Rs. 80 crore. In this endeavor, the company has already opened outlets in Amritsar and Dehradun.

In the north, the company will be focusing on Jammu, Ludhiana and Jalandhar. Besides clothing and home textiles, the company is also targeting the organic food segment and is introducing organic snack food in the market.

The company had a turnover of Rs. 135 crore last year and is now planning to reach Rs. 200 crore. Fabindia was founded in 1960 by John Bissell as a showcase of India’s craft and handloom traditions.

Personlized voice boxes

I absolutely love innovative gift ideas. This one involves some personalization, which makes it even better. There's nothing quite like a gift that you have personalized for someone. VoiceQuilt has come up with a unique gift idea to share voice based memories. All you have to do is sign up and send e-mails to your select group, who will then call a toll-free number and leave messages, from which you can select and make a 'play list' and decide how to have it delivered, either via a keepsake or electronically via email. I would love to have a voice message of my darling niece, who is both mischievous and grown up at the same time and loves to tell stories. When I last visited her in Toronto, she was 5 years old and talked nineteen to the dozen, jumped up and down on the couch, ate candy and watched TV all at the same time.

Carmichael House to set up 24 stores by October 2006 end

Business Standard reports that S Kumars home furnishings brand Carmichael House will have 24 stores by the end of the month. So far, the company has 8 stores in India. While 30% of the stores will be company owned, the balance would be franchises. The Carmichael House brand was launched in August 2006 and has registered Rs. 30 crore in sales and is targeting Rs. 100 crore by March 2007. The company has 27% of the organized home textiles segment, which is estimated to be worth Rs. 350 crore.

Provogue division to invest Rs. 1,000 crore in shopping centers

More on the Provogue and Liberty International JV.
The Economic Times reports that apparel brand Provogue India Ltd’s development subsidiary Prozone Enterprises Pvt. Ltd. announced that it will be investing Rs. 1,000 crore to develop 6 shopping centers in tier II cities. Most shopping centers to be developed by the company will be in the one million sq ft range. Four of the six cities where shopping centers will come up are Mysore, Aurangabad, Surat and Indore. The remaining two cities will be announced within a month.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Provogue and Liberty International form JV

Nasdaq.com reports that Provogue India and UK based Liberty International have formed a joint venture to develop and manage shopping centers in India. With the agreement, Liberty International will be taking 25% shares in Provogue’s Prozone Enterprises. Liberty International is expected to invest GBP25 million in 6 centers.

Indian retail market will attract investments worth $412 billion

Deccan Herald reports that PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) has estimated that $412 billion in investments will come into India by 2011. Hypermarkets and supermarkets will receive the maximum investment, with more than half of it going to food related retail. The figure is substantially higher than the estimated amount of $320 billion that was suggested by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Will e-books replace paper?

Will you ever get rid of your physical books and switch to e-books? An article in E-Commerce Times suggests that more consumers are likely to try this form of reading in the future.
On the face of it, an e-book is an attractive proposition, not least because it can offer features difficult or impossible to find in a printed book, such as hyperlinks, multimedia content, cut and paste, high degrees of interactivity and updated content. It can be downloaded and read instantly, and publishers don't have to transport huge volumes of books around the country and store them in warehouses.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Architects from India in demand

The Economic Times reports that one of the upcoming fields in India is that of architecture. Rising costs, declining interest in the subject has led to a shortage of architects in the US, Middle East and Europe. Indian architects are filling in the gaps, as they have good technical knowledge and know the English language.
“There is a lot of work coming from the US clients based in China. For instance, today the buildings are conceptualised in the US, designed in India and built in China,” says Michael Jansen, CEO, Ananta Satellier, a Noida-based company executing architecture design and drafting assignments for the past 15 years.

Team from Indiana University visits India to see the competion

Daniel C Smith, dean of the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University has been visiting India to create a partnership between the university and India for students and faculty echanges, Kelley Direct programs and executive education. Also on the trip will be the university's chair of undergraduate studies at the Kelley School of Business, M.A. Ventakraman will be leading a group of 60 students to India for 10 days.

Ventakraman said that:
"I want them to see their future competition," said Venkataramanan, who has been leading one of the largest and most recognized undergraduate business programs in the world since last year. "They will see people who probably are going to make one-tenth of their starting pay after coming out of a similar four-year institution and how hard they are willing to work."
Read the article here at the Indiana Univerity site.

'India's economic growth on track'

The Financial Times reports that at a conference on "India-an emerging giant", India's Commerce and Industry Minister Kamal Nath stressed that the country's economic reforms are on track. He added that the economy was growting at a brisk 8%.
Nath conceded that manufacturing, which contributes around 17 per cent to GDP, needs a major expansion but he rejected the suggestion that China is going to be a manufacturing hub and India the services hub of the world.

India has a large industrial base and the capital utilization in the country is much more efficient than in China, he told the audience, pointing out that this is brought out by the comparison of the progress made by India and China vis-a-vis the foreign direct investment (FDI) received by them.

The manufacturing sector is poised to grow at a fast pace in India thanks to the fast growing Middle Class and increasing purchasing power of the people, he said.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Realtors with a difference

A small Austin real estate company is trying to change the way things are run in the real estate business. Alcan Properties is offering 1.5% rebates to buyers and sellers who deal with them. The usual 6% rate is normally divided equally between the buyer's and the seller's agent and Alcan Properties is offering half of its share of commission to reduce the burden on clients.

Sunday movie

Just watched 'The importance of being Ernest' and really enjoyed it. It's a witty, charming comedy starring Rupert Everett, Colin Firth, Judi Dench and Reese Witherspoon. It's really the perfect movie for a lazy sunday afternoon. Ever since we signed up for DVD membership at Movie Empire in Lokhandwala, we've been catching up with lots of movies. The problem, usually is, finding which movie to see, since we never go to the store and instead just order movies via phone. So, now I look for movie ideas on the Blockbuster, which gives detailed description, cast, tone etc of the movie.

Get rid of downtime

I love learning about new technologies that help us do our work better. I found an interesting company called Hosting Zoom that has brought out a revolutionary new hosting technology that radically reduces downtime and improves a website's performance. The Clustered Failover Hosting Technology is used to host several critical websites that receive high amount of traffic. By distributing the load across many servers, the system is able to improve website performance. The system also mirrors all data such as email, web and databases in real time, so if there is a failure, the system automatically reroutes traffic onto all traffic to an available server in the same cluster.

Retail companies vie for air cargo space

The Economic Times reports that Indian retailers are lining up to purchase cargo aircraft to backward integrate their supply chain logistics. With this model, both retailers and airline companies would benefit as retailers would be able to transport perishable goods quickly and efficiently, and several low cost airlines, such as Air Deccan and Go Cargo are making plans to expand their cargo infrastructure.

While Reliance and Bharti are already in talks to set up long term alliances with international and domestic cargo companies, other retailers such as the Tata Group, Birla Group and RPG are considering their options. Air Deccan MD Capt. Gopinath, said,
“We have already taken steps in this direction and are in talks with some well known retail companies. We will soon come out with something really formidable.”

Target coupons

I like going to Target. They always have new and interesting stuff each time I visit the store. One of the big advantages is that its never as crazy and crowded as Wal-Mart which always has a chaotic atmosphere. As much as I enjoy going to the store and exploring it myself, I found some great Target coupons that tempt me to shop from home instead of going to the store.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Wal-Mart gives itself a makeover

The Star reports that retail giant Wal-Mart is not known for housing its stores in interesting buildings and after a lot of criticism over how the stores don't fit in with the surroundings, the company has decided to construct an upscale version of itself. The new store will be opened in a upscale locality of Toronto in summer 2007.
Looking more upscale than the average big-box retail store, the new 135,000-square-foot building has an exterior — if not for its sheer frontage — that might be mistaken for a condo, constructed with tasteful beige and brown brick and surrounded by tree-lined streets. Decorative paving, benches and pedestrian lighting give the area a neighbourhood feel.

"This is a first-rate design that is unlike any other Wal-Mart store in Canada," Wal-Mart Canada Corp. spokesperson Kevin Groh said. "We are making sure the stores we build are appropriate to their surroundings and architecturally relevant."

HR outlook

Business Standard reports that the TeamLease Employment Outlook Survey for the months of October-December 2006 says that retail, media and FMCG will be the main drivers of hiring activity in the quarter. The survey was conducted in 8 cities across India, Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Chennai, Pune and Ahmedabad, with 490 private sector companies.

According the survey, companies in retail, media and FMCG and to a lesser degree IT and financial services, will be hiring at a faster rate than the growth of their industry. Bangalore has the most optimistic business outlook, then Mumbai and Delhi, mostly due to retail, media and FMCG.

Haier to produce locally

Business Standard reports that the Haier Group’s Indian subsidiary, Haier Appliances India Pvt. Ltd is planning to produce its products in India to gain a larger share of the domestic consumer electronics market which is estimated to be worth Rs. 18,000 crore. The company out sources its production currently, plans to maintain its relationship with its manufacturing partners while getting into manufacturing itself.

Finding the perfect real estate agent

Finding a place to live can be a really stressful time, but if one has a good real estate agent it does ease some of the strain, just by knowing that you agent is looking out for your interests. The key to a good agent is their understanding of what you are looking for and sticking within those parameters. Half Realty chooses pre-screened real estate agents after a thorough search and only selects the best agent from each county, so half your work is done just by getting the right agent.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Move over Baby Boomers; its time for Generation Y now

USA Today writes that Generation Y are calling the shots with retailers these days. Those born between 1982 and 2000 are showing their increasing spending capacity that is likely to surpass the Baby Boomers, whom retailers have been targeting for over 20 years. Generation Y shoppers are quite savvy and hunt for both cheap and elite items, shopping at thrift stores not because they have to, but because they want to while still buying high end products such as computers.

Online marketing expert Kelly Mooney will release findings at a National Retail Federation conference Wednesday showing the 13- to 21-year-olds in the group influence 81% of their families' apparel purchases and 52% of car choices.

Mooney says that at 82 million people, Gen Y is the most influential generation for retailers because it is bigger than the baby boomers and its members have spending power and strong opinions at an earlier age.

Mooney's research into the habits of the teens and young adults, which included interviews and video diaries, shows slow websites, dismissive sales staff and free shipping that takes more than two days will turn them off to a brand.

No signatures for small credit card purchases

Convenience Store News reports that credit card comapnies are moving towards not requiring signatures for purchases of less than $25. Customers in a rush at movie theatres, pharmacies and convenience stores now do not have to wait to sign a receipt for these small everyday purchases. Consumer groups are not happy with the move as the amount of small purchases has significantly increased in the past few years and this move could do further damage to consumers already increasing debts.
CardWeb.com estimates that this year, consumers will use Visa cards to buy $60 billion worth of items that cost less than $25 each, approximately 11 times more than the rise from 2000.

"Not having to sign is a huge convenience for consumers and a critical element" to grow small-dollar purchases on credit cards, Elizabeth Buse, an executive vice president at Visa told USA Today.

Retailers also benefit from the new no-sign environment, according to credit card companies, the stores can serve more consumers and see higher overall sales. "People will spend more if they come in with a card versus cash," said Gareth Forsey of MasterCard Worldwide.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Bombay Dyeing plans to open 10 exclusive stores

Daily News & Analysis reports that Bombay Dyeing announced that it will be opening 10 high end exclusive stores for its collection of bed sheets and towels. The company will be spending Rs. 3-4 crore on advertising its new ‘Country Romance Collection’.
'Country Romance collection' has 12 groups of bed sheets in three different designs each and 14 groups of bath towels, he said. The bedsheet collection is priced at Rs 1,249 and the towels are priced at Rs 355 onward.The new collection would be available at 400 exclusive Bombay Dyeing stores across the country, he said.

Heritage Foods get a new head

The Hindu Business Line reports that S Jagdish, former Business Head of Trends-in-Vogue, CavinKare’s salon business division, has joint as Head of Heritage Foods, the Hyderabad based retailer.
Prior to joining Heritage, Mr Jagdish was Business Head of Trends-in-Vogue, the salons business wing of FMCG company CavinKare Pvt Ltd. As the head of this business, Mr Jagdish was responsible for growing the retail services of CavinKare through the LimeLite and Green Trends chain of salons in Chennai, Bangalore and Delhi.

Titan counting on its sub brands

Business Standard reports that watch company Titan, is counting on its sub-brands to further drive growth in the future. Its women’s range of watches, Raga has been recently repositioned and will now contribute around 40% as compared with 25% last year. Other niche brands such as Edge and Nebula are also likely to grow at a faster pace this year. Ajoy Chawla, business head (Titan) said that even though Edge will grow ‘on a small base’, the company expects it to do business worth Rs. 50 crore this year and Rs. 100 crore in the next 3-4 years.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Havell’s expansion plans

Business Standard reports that electrical goods company Havell’s has announced that it will be significantly increasing its exclusive stores from its current 6 to 200 over the next three years. Anil Gupta, joint managing director of Havell’s said, "We propose to increase the number of retail stores to 30 by the end of this fiscal, and to 200 in the next three years." The company will also be investing approximately Rs. 125 crore in improving and updating its manufacturing facilities.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

October already?

This year is really going by too fast. It just started and its already heading towards winter now. I guess that means that things are moving well, that time is flying and I barely realize when another year passes. That's both good and bad....