Shopper’s Stop targets younger buyers with Rs 20 crore brand revamp


April 23, 2008

Saumya Roy and Gouri Shah
MINT (Partner to the Wall Street Journal)
Wed, 23 Apr 2008, Mumbai

Shopper’s Stop Ltd, the 24-store retail chain, got a new look at a glitzy function featuring actor Shah Rukh Khan, nightclub lighting and hundreds of saplings that will be planted as part of the stores’ Rs20 crore (Rs. 200 million) rebranding exercise.

The chain, which started in a defunct suburban Mumbai movie theatre in 1991, got itself a new black-and-white logo, uniforms, print and television campaigns, carry bags and even an anthem and an in-store radio channel. It will also launch an Internet shopping platform along with a Think Green campaign.

"Our customers are getting younger, so the brand cannot get older," said Govind Shrikhande, chief executive of Shopper’s Stop. "We wanted to get trendier without losing the experience of 17 years."

The rebranding comes soon after Lifestyle, a department store chain from the Dubai-based Landmark Group, announced a new campaign to highlight its shoes, kidswear and home accessories categories along with fashion.

"In the Indian market, the issue is of increased competition," says Devangshu Dutta, chief executive of Third Eyesight, a retail consulting company.

A slew of global apparel brands such as Guess, Esprit and French Connection have entered the market over the past two years, after foreign retailers were allowed to own majority stakes in their Indian operations. These brands have brought store design and experience in line with global standards along with fashion, encouraging Shopper’s Stop to change as well, Dutta said.

Just the creation of a retail destination brand was an innovation in itself, says Anand Halve, co-founder of Chlorophyll Brand and Communications Consultancy Pvt. Ltd. "But as the category grows tangible, differentiators
such as store environment and experience have become hygiene factors, and that is when branding becomes important. It adds intangible value to tangible things."

For instance, Shopper’s Stop found that while younger shoppers came and bought the new brands the store has been introducing, they did not associate with the store itself, says B.S. Nagesh, managing director of Shopper’s

To woo younger customers, Shopper’s Stop will tie up with Blue Frog Media Pvt. Ltd, a Mumbai-based company that runs a live music club, and will have its own record label for an in-store radio station.

Shopper’s Stop, which currently occupies 1.5 million sq. ft in total, will add 89 stores or 1 million sq. ft every year for the next three years. It will increase the average size of its stores to around 85,000 sq. ft from
the current 65,000 sq. ft, Shrikhande said.

With organised retail expected to grow at around 42% till 2011, according to a report by Mumbai-based brokerage Edelweiss Securities Ltd, department stores will start to focus on subcategories within their stores.

"You will see subbrands being promoted in a big way to create an appeal among special segments in different categories," says Chlorophyll’s Halve.