Saturday, February 05, 2011
Pune is touted to be a fast growing IT hub that has placed the city amongst an important destination for retail sector to take note of. When i settled in Pune from Mumbai by the end of year 2004, The eastern corridor in the city was nowhere close to development and it was then the outskirts of Pune city. As the city grew and expanded it has now become the most happening spot in the city and this area of the city came to limelight nationally post the Pune German Bakery bomb blast incident.
A lot of major retail groups set up their shops in this area of the city which now has a host of malls, as a electonics and gadgets enthusiast i always knew Pune definately could not match the charm of Lamington road in Mumbai when it came to electronics market, however even it came to buying a simple cable extension and misc electronics need these so called electronics megastores never used to have any and it required me to do some searching in nearby places to get a fixed source for buying or rely on ebay.
Recently Croma electonics closed down their outlet at Ishanya mall and even Dass Electronics has closed few outlets in the city along with a branch at nagar road, if you check their website today it has not even being updated i suppose from last Aug-Sep'10. These stores opened with lot of promises but somehow they could just not afford to pay huge lease amounts on commercial property compared to the sales that may not help them break even over a particular period of time. There were some small time laptop shops too which opened in the fortaleza society vicinity, opposite Gold Big Cinemas even they closed down soon.
The retail story is somewhere not clicking right in Pune, if you are even lucky to find what you need do not expect good after sales service from the stores in malls. Once you are out of the bright and airconditioned atmosphere of the mall with your product you have brought, as a consumer you are history. The so called "IT crowd" is not sufficient to register impressive sales, Pune has a higher share of student population too which comprises of high footfalls and low spend category that's hurting the growth of retail sector here.
Every time i visited Croma or Dass a disinterested or overexcited salesman would come to you suggesting you stuff that you are not seeking, pushing products of some brand that their store is endorsing. At times these sales guys would form their own groups strolling in the store chatting and having a gala time. Same kind of attitude prevails with sales staff at Big Bazaar, Hometown, Lifestyle and Housefull stores which i have visited and experienced.