Thursday, March 31, 2005

Retailers queue up to IT City as base

Retailers queue up to IT City as base
The Times of India

Bangalore: Chennai may not like this. But fact is, in the south, retailers prefer to work out of Bangalore.

The Lifestyle departmental store chain, which has been based in Chennai ever since it entered India, is shifting its headquarters to Bangalore. Pizza Corner, which started out of Chennai in 1996, moved to Delhi in 2000, but decided last year that there’s no place like Bangalore to base its business in.

“It is easier to attract retail talent if you are in Bangalore. We also feel we can create a better brand image for ourselves if we are here,” says Sankar G., managing director of Lifestyle International, the Dubai-based Landmark Group company which is also now planning to launch its Max value fashion retail chain and a hypermarket venture in India.

Most others in the retail business agree. “Bangalore is a more cosmopolitan city, so people in mid and senior management levels may prefer to be based here,” says Sunil Chandran, vice president in Foodworld Supermarkets.

“You attract talent typically through networking. Since you have a number of apparel brands and other retailers based in Bangalore, reference talent in retail is easier to get here,” says K. Vaitheeswaran, COO of He notes that extensive presence of garment exporters in Bangalore helps too. “Many in these companies want to move to other functions in the garment chain like branding and retailing. And so you have a ready resource pool,” he says.

An important reason for Pizza Corner making the shift was the growth in Bangalore’s foods business, which it felt was the fastest in the country.

However, experts also note that this Bangalore appeal could well reverse itself if the city does not address emerging issues like infrastructure and manpower costs. Sunil Chandran says it is already difficult to get front end retail staff because there are other attractive options like call centres for such people. “The way things are going, at some point the city will reach a tipping point, when people will ask themselves whether it’s working well for them in Bangalore,” says Vaitheeswaran.


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