Kongu Retail Summit: Coimbatore Ahoy!

STOrai profiles the inaugural edition of the Kongu Retail Summit at Coimbatore on March 18 2014.  Southern India is the home of both retail and organized trade and RAI’s Southern council has long been of the view that networking events in markets such as Coimbatore, Madurai and Kochi were required, in addition to the meets at Chennai and Bangalore.

The event was attended by 150 people, including RAI members and academic partners.
STOrai presents quotable quotes and glimpses:

“South India is the birthplace of both – retail and modern retail in India. It has 25% of the population of the country but 30% of the retail turnover” – said Bijou Kurien during his Key Note Address.  “South India has built strong vibrant brands – and malls recognize that they need local and regional brands as much as they need their national counterparts”, he added.

– Bijou Kurien

“Family owned businesses are an extension of the family environment for our staff” said M. Banumathi, Head Naidu Hall, Kovai, during the panel discussion on the Dynamics of Family owned businesses.  Her co-panelist, T.Shantakumar, MD, Kirtilals said “Professionals have a role to play as family owned businesses grow. However, the key to success for both sides is to ensure that the professionals are able to align with family culture and business values”.
Read More Here: http://goo.gl/f3flrQ

The panel on “The Art and Science of retailing” provided rich insights.
K.R. Nagarajan, Founder & MD, Ramraj Cotton spoke about his journey of converting the traditional ‘veshti’  into ‘occasion wear’ – something to be worn with pride and dignity , which resulted in a business which today spans 59 stores.  “The power of white is in its purity.  Customers who wear pristine white clothes for 21 days, find themselves unable to revert to colored clothes.  But white does not mean simple – we sell 2500 designs of dhotis – because customer tastes change from Kochi to Kovai to Kumbakonam”.
Read more here: http://goo.gl/WQb3KL

Nigam Patel, Director, Prozone CSC spoke about how tier 2 cities in India are attractive mall destinations.

“Managing a mall is a long term play – it needs patience.  We’ve also learnt that we need a mix of local and national retailers”.

His co-panelist, Girish Pande, COO, Fun Cinemas, concurred – “We’ve built malls in 9 tier 2 cities and we find these markets to be vibrant. Kovai Fun Cinemas sees 100,000 people per month, one of the highest in India.”

Read more here: http://goo.gl/vKbtyA

P Subramaniam, Consultant, RmKV Silks, spoke about the learning process they went through while deciding to move from high street to malls.

“Inspite of being a strong brand in Chennai and Tirunelveli the decision to set up a store in Brookefields mall in Kovai was taken after much debate – and was driven as much by market potential as by the lack of high street properties”.

Read more here: http://goo.gl/vKbtyA

The panel on multi-channel retail pointed out that for regional retailers – going online, or being present on social media is a non-negotiable.

“You either leverage technology or go out of business” – was how M. Ramakrishnan, MD, Thulasi Pharmacy  put it .

Read More Here: http://goo.gl/KTZET6

Delegate feedback showed that RAI’s use of bi-lingual panel discussions met with much appreciation, something we intend to continue in future events in the South.

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Retailers Association of India (RAI) is the unified voice of Indian retailers. RAI is a not for profit organization (registered under section 25 of Companies Act, 1956), works with all the stakeholders for creating the right environment for the growth of the modern retail industry in India. RAI is the body that encourages, develops, facilitates and supports retailers to become modern and adopt best practices that will delight customers. RAI has a three charter aim of Retail Development, Facilitation and Propagation.