Retail Report: The Hunt for Red October!

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Overall, it’s been boring, disappointing and really demoralizing experience. Retail therapy used to be fun. What the heck happened to Lahore??? By Fareeha Qayoom

By Fareeha Qayoom



or the past few weekends, I have been browsing the malls – looking for items on my basic wardrobe wish list…overall, it’s been boring, disappointing and really demoralizing experience. Retail therapy used to be fun. What the heck happened to Lahore???




Saturday, Dec 31st, 2011


Pace Main Boulevard Ground floor

Unfortunately, didn’t like the ambiance and decided not to spend a lot of time here…we got bored in two seconds flat. The merchandise looked tired and old…not to mention, second hand. The sweaters were all over 3K and not worth it in terms of design, quality, or value for money…


Pace MM Alam Road – Ground and first floor

This was even worse than the main boulevard Pace experience. Half the shops were closed and it was 2:00 PM. The open stores gave me a vibe of ‘landa bazaar’ merchandise (translation: flea market and Salvation Army/Oxfam)…why would we want to spend 3K and above on tattered, old sweaters? We only liked ‘Big’ – at least enough to try on one basic black sweater but not enough to buy it…


Zaka Pharmacy, MM Alam Road

Again, the shop was teeming with overpriced boring merchandise – tired old synthetic sweaters and tees with a few rain coats thrown in for good measure. We liked a couple of ballet flats but not enough to buy them. In a word, same old, same old, but that’s two words! 😀


Denizen by Levi Strauss and Co. MM Alam Road

There were some solid tees selling for PKR 800 – all men’s fit so wasn’t terribly interested. God, where can you find moderately priced solid women’s fit tees in this town?


Accessorize – Xinhua Mall

We like this store by the way. They were running a promotion here – last day though. “Buy one, get one free” type of thing. The back packs were cool and girly but were way too expensive (5K) for the kind of material they were made in – Nike is way better in the same price point (quality, design and material) so decided not to buy. We liked their wallets, stationary and jewelry too…but mostly its teen stuff.


Cross Roads – Xinhua Mall

They don’t sell basics here. Besides, we are not the target customer anyway. Again, they are targeting the youth.



Next Stores – Xinhua Mall

Hmmm…worth a browse but nothing new here – at least, nothing that was on my wish list. They still have not brought in the basic solid tees – long and short sleeve options with their “essentials” label…it’s more or less, all blends and trends. I have bought all I want and at full price too this season.


Break Out – Xinhua Mall

Teen stuff – Youth wear – again, they don’t stock any basics. The store is colorful and bright, with interesting display; price points? – Not terribly interested as I am not their targeted customer anyway so didn’t find out. Sorry.


Levi’s and Dockers – Xinhua Mall

All men’s stuff here…checked out a couple of Chinos for my younger bro.


Nike – Xinhua Mall

One basic black back pack for 3.5K; however, the design was not all that great so I am still not pushed – may be, I’ll go back and buy it but chances are since it was the only basic black backpack, it will be sold by the time I get around to it. I also wanted to look at women’s tees and their price points. But my sister was bored and wanted to leave so we didn’t linger here.


Sunday, Jan 15, 2012 – the Mall of Lahore


Next Stores

Men’s sweaters for 8K and above…no women’s tees in this store either…heck, when are they going to stock up the basic tees?



My 7 year old niece fell in love with some of the stuff and refused to leave until she made me buy her some pretty trinkets. I have already told you we love this store and it was no hardship browsing it for a bit. (She’s already broken her butterfly bracelet though so not terribly durable stuff for the kids!)



Some pretty lace and swiss lawn. Unfortunately, the prints that we liked were intended as sleeves only!



No Moonstone silver pendant here either –  (Iam looking for one!). Let’s see if I can find one…Yes, I have already looked at Kabul Handicrafts. His stuff didn’t match my earrings…



They are selling a pair of women’s tank tops for 3K here! Imagine! They don’t stock my size anyway so it was just curiosity that drew me here…



They stock women’s basic tees! Yes!

However, they’re a bit pricey for basics and there are not a lot of options or color ways available in the women’s range. I didn’t find a single black tee here for example. There was one basic navy long sleeve one but not in my size. Bought a red solid short sleeve tee  (worth it as it turns out; great handle, fabric quality and excellent fit) – PKR 1540 and they were running a promotion so got a discount. My sister was urging me to buy the long sleeve version in purple as well which was available in my size but I wasn’t terribly attracted to purple. I might go back and purchase a few of their tees though…It’s a good brand for basics but they are selling their merchandise at higher price points here – sigh. Only in Pakistan.



One basic black backpack here too – again for about 3.5K. The other one I liked at Xinhua Mall is a bit better in design terms…a few fitness tees looked promising too. But give me a break. I am trying to stock up my basic tee wardrobe – not looking for fitness tees in men’s fit…so didn’t even bother looking at price points.



Not my cup of tea. Besides, they are targeting really skinny, loaded women with limited tastes…or maybe tarty is the word?


By the way, public restrooms in the Mall of Lahore are pretty clean- one redeeming feature of the place. Humpty Dumpty is a kids’ tourist trap and money pit, KFC offers bad service and McDonald’s might be good for a happy meal but the food hall could do with a few more options! Thought I should mention it even though, it has nothing to do with my retail report…


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Fareeha Qayoom
Fareeha Qayoom
Publisher and editor-in-chief of 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.

1 Comment

  1. Here’s a list of brands that you might want to check out…

    (By the way, most of them are targeting the Youth – Teenagers and 20 somethings…People in their 30s and 40s – forget it – Only Dockers (men only), Giordano and Next for you.)


    Next Stores Pakistan (Franchise thru Team A Ventures)

    StoneAge Jeans Co. (Belongs to Crescent Bahuman Ltd – CBL)

    Crossroads (Belongs to Forest Sweaters)

    River stone (Another retail brand of Forest Sweaters)

    Now Tees

    Denizen by Levi’s


    Famous Brands

    Ideas by Gul Ahmed


    Maria B.



    Leisure Club

    Urban Culture


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