A Louis Philippe showroom on Main Road in Ranchi. Picture by Hardeep Singh
Do you know what “showrooming” means? The word, shortlisted as the Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year 2013, lost out to selfie, but it means the practice of checking out retail stores and then ordering items online, for cheaper.
Jharkhand cities may not be showrooming just as yet. For, the retail sector has just exploded, showering everyone with goodies. The reason behind the retail season? Metros have become saturated, while cities such as Ranchi and Jamshedpur are revving up their appetite for conspicuous consumption.
In Ranchi, June saw premium lifestyle brand Van Heusen opening its first store in Ranchi’s Spring City Mall. Barely four months later, in October, Van Heusen opened its second exclusive store at Kadru More.
Demand for luxe wheels is rolling fast. “We will open a dedicated Audi showroom in Ranchi in January, the first in Jharkhand. People are buying high-end cars these days. There has been a 100 per cent growth in automobile sector in Ranchi,” Audi showroom sales manager Manish Bhura said.
In December, two Maruti Suzuki showrooms opened — on Ratu Road and Station Road. Sales manager Rakesh Singh of Premsons Motors, Kanke Road, a Maruti dealer, said: “We have way more than half the market share of the segment, but the new Maruti model SX4, priced at Rs 10 lakh, has excited tremendous interest.”
He added that the middle class segment’s purchasing power had gone up in leaps and bounds with banks offering loans.
He had a point. Besides Maruti and Hyundai, brands such as Toyota, BMW, Mercedez-Benz, Chevrolet, Mitsubishi and Audi were steering Ranchi towards auto retail therapy. All are selling well in Ranchi.
As far as clothes go, Anurag Sarawagi, managing partner of JD High Street Mall, said youngsters were very brand conscious. “We have people from Ramgarh, Hazaribagh and Patratu thronging our mall for brands,” he said. “Many prefer branded formals in office and are ready to spend,” he said.
From Levi’s, Moustache, Pepe Jeans, Lee Cooper, United Colors of Benetton, Provogue and others, Ranchi is full of high-street apparel brands. Kuldip Sons & Jewellers on the capital’s Main Road stocks Rado, Tissot and Calvin Klein watches.
In Jamshedpur, where the apparel-auto brand-fest had rolled in even before Ranchi, food is the new buzzword.
So, when KFC opened shop on October 6, 2013, in Sakchi, it was an instant success. “It’s a superhit. We are attracting hundreds of foodies who prefer to sit, chat and spend time at the food joint,” said Vinod Chauhan, manager, KFC.
Giving KFC some stiff desi competition, is Moti Mahal Deluxe. Famous for its tandoori chicken and kebabs, the restaurant, which has over 100 outlets in the world, opened in the steel city in February.
As far as cars went, city roads embraced Renault, the French multinational. The first exclusive showroom of the brand was launched in September in Mango. The brand became so popular that over 150 cars were sold in this short span. The most popular car from Renault has been Duster.
“This is the only Renault showroom in Jharkhand. We’ve got encouraging response since Day One. I hope it increases with time,” said Dilip Kumar Jha, store manager.
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