Retail Report – More Winter Sales Blues…

Silent and Grey
January 9, 2013
Another Retail Report: More Winter Sales Blues …
February 4, 2013

By Fareeha Qayoom

 

There might be sales galore in this town but there is no fun in retail therapy – the merchandise across the board looks tired, boring and unattractive – be it shoes, bags, apparel or home furnishings.

(Area surveyed – DHA Y Market and H market)

 

Less is more

Majority of retailers don’t seem to have a clue. There is merchandise and there is merchandise.  The stores seem to be empty of foot traffic even though there is a sale on “up to 70 percent off” and “50 percent on selected stock” all over the place.

 

The only exception: Next Sales – their product got cleared so fast that they have been forced to put up their last year’s left over summer stock. Also, they are totally out of some items like socks, belts, sneakers…

 

Departmental stores like HKB, Potpourri and Ideas by Gul Ahmed look overcrowded. Instead of buying and stocking hundreds of products that nobody wants, way past their shelf life, a smart buying strategy might help move stock quickly from their crowded racks.

 

Ventilation would help too; for example, Ideas by Gul Ahmed gives a stuffy, stale vibe because they do not have windows in their building – fresh air would make a big difference to their store. They are not the only ones, I noticed the stale air vibe in a number of stores (Y and H market both)…at least the new fashion fad of huge decorative glass walls and no windows doesn’t work for me. Bad smells put me off.

 

Lack of basic product lines, complete size set and organic product mix

You already know about my pet rant about stores lacking basic (replenishment) styles across seasons (apparel, shoes or accessories), not to mention, lacking complete sizes in stock, well, you can add to this list a third item, retailers seem to stock cheap blends as well. There are too many synthetics around – whatever happened to hundred percent cotton, wool and leather? Hello? Please, stock for Pakistan’s climate; thank you very much.

 

I still haven’t found a single basic hundred percent wool fine gauge black cardigan for example or a single pair of leather deck shoes, or penny loafers, or basic ballet flats, or thick soled work boots, or basic solid colored women’s tees, or countless other items on my shopping list that I would like to stock up… know what I mean? The price points are the pits as well. I don’t want to pay through my nose for cheap blends.  Durability, quality and fit are important considerations when the price is higher. Why would you pay more for less?

 

Boring Displays

There might be lots of western silhouettes available for men, women and kids including local labels now but I think most of them are rejected stock lots from the Far East factories with only smattering of original made in Pakistan for Pakistan. The vibe is very flea market. A well thought out buying plan that targets Pakistani urban demographics would help. May be the retailers should conduct a few focus groups, set up easy to use customer feedback forms that can be quickly filled at the point of sale? The retailers need to invest in attractive display too. Sometimes, too much product noise is the problem too. It makes it difficult to make quick shopping decisions.

 

Shopping should be fun, not a chore that you want to quickly get it over. That’s how, retailers get shoppers to impulse buy.

 

*

 

Editor’s Pick: Stores that fit our Eye Candy Criteria – Levi’s, Accessorize, Haroon’s, Charles and Keith, Body Shop…

Levi's store

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Fareeha Qayoom
Fareeha Qayoom
Publisher and editor-in-chief of Tkfr.com and former print editions of The Knit-Xtyle Fashion Review (tkfr), a trade newsletter for the textile and apparel industry of Pakistan. In short, Publisher, editor, and a blogger. In addition, she has served as Managing Editor of MIT Technology Review Pakistan, print and web editions (2015-16). Total of 7 editions were published under her leadership by ITU, Punjab's first public technology university under the license of MIT Technology Review (USA). She has also managed Value Mag in the same capacity, a real estate and lifestyle magazine for Value TV - 2008-9. Published freelancer for The News on Sunday 1994-96. Fareeha has over 21 years of solid management experience – of managing brands (like Harley Davidson, Munsingwear, Chaps, Chaps Ralph Lauren etc.,), Retailers (like Target, Mervyns, Kohl's, Marks and Spencer etc.,), customers (VPs, Product Managers, Unit Managers, and Buyers), and products (apparel - woven, knits, men's, women's, children's, Print and online publishing units), projects, teams, and processes, information, content, and data, staff, vendors, and time. Versatile and adaptable with international exposure, communication and language skills (oral and written), and a consistent track record of achieving company targets and objectives, plus a MA in Political Science from Punjab University, a MSc in Economics from La Salle University, Louisiana, USA, and a BA in Economics from Kinnaird College for Women.

5 Comments

  1. more reading?

    SHOPPING: Zooming in on Lahore’s bazaars

    Amal Fatima Uppal takes you on a tour of all that is fancy and fabulous

    Shopping is like eating out. Some prefer a buffet — a vast array of shops to pick and choose from. Others stick to ala carte — walk into a shop knowing exactly what they want. But however you approach it, shopping is as rewarding an experience as eating, maybe even more gratifying. And that’s even truer if you’re shopping in Lahore.

    http://archives.dawn.com/weekly/review/archive/080529/review6.htm

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  2. The Mall of Lahore

    The Famous ‘Mall of Lahore’ standing tall in the greens of Lahore’s beautiful Cantonment area is a hub of exciting brands and fascinating shopping outlets. From fashion to sumptuous food, “Mall of Lahore” at Park Lane Tower promises a great shopping experience for the whole family. With international brands and local high-end fashion, the world of retail gets closer to your finger tips. Featuring quality stores Mall of Lahore offers an array of shopping options for men, women & children. Whether you are looking for stylish fashionable new attire or a simple unique accessory… you will get it all at Mall of Lahore! The ground floor of The Mall, laden with finest collections by Pakistani fashion designers will gradually provide fashion aficionados with a wider selection to pick from in terms of clothes and designer fabrics. Displayed under assorted brands, the pompous collection with the emblematical designer cut and fashion, it is bound to make you feel all enthusiastic and excited.

    http://www.pakreviews.com/shopping/mall-lahore

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  3. Wednesday, March 3, 2010
    Retail Therapy

    Tonight in Lahore I checked out a fashion designer’s latest collection at her house, picked out some great fabric to have stitched into a fancy shalwar kameze, and bought a pair of shoes at Charles & Keith (flat, shiny, greenish-black, for work). The shopping choices are much more plentiful in Lahore than in Islamabad, so I have to take advantage of that when I am here on business. Before going out shopping, I went to Subway to pick up a quick veggie sub and white chocolate macadamia nut cookie, which all tasted pretty close to how Subway tastes in the U.S., and reminded me instantly of road trips, since that is pretty much the only time I go there under normal circumstances.

    http://cheeseburgersinpakistan.blogspot.com/2010/03/retail-therapy.html

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  4. Online retail therapy: A guide for Pakistani shoppers
    November 5, 2011

    There’s no therapy like retail therapy. Whether it’s window-shopping, trying on multiple outfits, or finding something cute on sale, shopping may lead to a state of euphoria akin to falling in love. And now, it doesn’t matter where one lives as long as there’s Wi-Fi to enable one’s virtual shopping fix.

    An example of online shopper’s adrenaline rush: clicking your way through an online bidding war with a young woman in Tokyo over a handbag made in Italy that’s sold in America and, if you succeed, your prize is subsequently shipped over to you in Pakistan.

    http://blogs.tribune.com.pk/story/8779/online-retail-therapy-a-guide-for-pakistani-shoppers/

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  5. Retail isn’t always therapeutic!
    Posted on January 20, 2012by aamnaisani
    (Published in Instep Today on January 14, 2012)

    A purple towel lay sprawled outside the front door of PFDC’s newly opened Boulevard on Lahore’s Main Boulevard Avenue, at Mall One to be exact. The purple towel served the vital purpose of a doormat. To be fair, it had been drizzling that day (Friday, January 6 to be exact) and the towel made sure wet shoes didn’t step into the swanky new store. At least it was a fashionable shade of purple, not candy pink or God forbid muddy mustard. Other than that wet towel, the PFDC Boulevard’s facade looked very grand.

    If charged with spying on boutiques in my free time, I would have to plead guilty. Only it’s not exactly spying; I put it down as vital research for my stories. And therefore it’s work, not ‘free time’ at all. Come to think of it, I miss the good old times at Instep where I’d get fuel allotment for these kinds of excursions!

    http://somethinghaute.wordpress.com/2012/01/20/fashion-boutiques-lahore/

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