Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Bangalore Will Have A Mall For Women

Ladies sure have deeper pockets
So Bangalore Will Have A Mall For Women
The Times of India

Bangalore: Call it the effect of women’s growing economic assertiveness. That women dominate consumer purchases is borne out by many studies. Cashing in on their shopping muscle, a slew of branded players — from those in apparel to footwear and watches — is setting up exclusive stores for women. And by May this year, Bangalore will also have its first women’s mall.

The mall on Brigade Road will be an 80,000 sq ft facility over five levels. It will have a number of leading brands (only their women’s lines), a few children’s stores, a salon, foodcourt, a cafe and an entertainment zone. More than 70 per cent of the staff will be women. Men can enter and shop, but if they are bringing their vehicle into the facility’s parking lot, they must be accompanied by a woman.

Suresh Singaravelu, the man behind the concept, bases his decision to set up a “gender un-neutral shopping facility” on the emergence of women as a great economic force. “In the US, 80 per cent of all household cheques are signed by women. In India too, they are coming into their own,” he says.

Brands also increasingly feel the need to ensure all their stores don’t have the same DNA. “Women want a different ambience, a more boutique-que set up. They want to take more time deciding, want to try out stuff, they like to shop in groups,” says Reebok India managing director Subinder Singh Prem.

Retailers’ desire to pamper women is easy to understand. Some estimates indicate 65 per cent of those working in BPOs and in retail are women. HR consultant Nobby Nazareth says there is no gender bias today in hiring for mid and top management positions, unlike earlier. “Many managements and CEOs actually look at having more women to bring gender balance,” he says.

And with increases in earning power, attitudes are also seen to be changing. “Women are becoming more assertive. So we need to give them concepts aligned to their needs,” says Prem.

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