Some Inputs from Mr. Rakesh Narula

Monday, November 5, 2007

This interview was exclusively taken by the retailia team. Mr. Rakesh Narula is a Senior Vice President (operations) - Nike Division has given us these inputs...

Q. What according to you is the relevance of category
management in evolving retail formats?

A. In India there are different types of people with different
demographic and psychographic profiles, tastes and
preferences. So it is very important to match the offerings
accordingly.Depending upon the contribution of various
categories we allocate shelf space to them. Category
management also involves taking into consideration local
taste and catering to their demand.This is the reason why
merchandise kept in one store varies from the other.

Q.What future do specialty formats selling
sports merchandise have in India, where consumer
preference is still low towards such goods?

A.Over the last decade people have become more fitness
conscious. They are demanding more than ever before,
with their awareness level increasing by the day.
Customer's expectations are reaching heights for
customized products & services, which can be best
provided by Specialty stores like ours. The retail scenario in
India is changing rapidly with the customers' want of a
“healthy mind & body” prominently transforming into need.
Keeping in mind this want-to-need change factor, Specialty
stores like ours are stepping up to the forefront in giving a
delightful experience to their customers.

Q.How according to you a company can begin and
sustain a culture built on trust rather than suspicion?

A.People are the most vital element of retail business.
Keeping that in mind, we pay a lot of emphasis right from
selecting the right candidate to training, trust -building and
inculcating attributes of “nothing is impossible”. We also
make them believe that our existence is only because of our customers.
We believe in employee retention by providing
them ample growth opportunities, acknowledging their
contribution and valuing them. All these factors have resulted
in low attrition rate, which is most critical in the changing retail

Q. What do you think is the best strategy to
capture youth's mind set and interests?

A.Youth have a very important role to play in our business.
Today's youth is much more aware of the happenings
because of the media exposure. Also coupled
with this the awareness level about fitness which has also
increased, making it extremely important to capture that
segment. Nike has tied up with Indian cricket team and
various gymnasiums across the country to capture youth's
mind and interest. We run several promotional activities in our
stores to capture their attention. Visual merchandising plays
an important role in promotions so that the entire store
presents a complete story.

Q. As India tops among the emerging markets. What
best retail practices from across the globe can be
adopted to create a win-win situation for both consumers
and retailers ?

A. For creating a sustainable retail business one will have to
take care of all the elements of retail keeping the customer
in mind, which will include:
n Consumer satisfaction
n Appropriate product mix
n Efficient systems and tools
n Visual merchandising
n In-store hygiene

Mr. Rakesh Narula

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