Thursday, November 13, 2008

Low cost high rise

It went against the grain when Saravana Stores revealed their seven storied building a couple of years ago. The store had a reputation for being the lowest-cost-sellers of any product, from clothes to kitchenware and samosas to diamond jewellery. With that kind of a background, their new building was not expected to be anything more than a block of concrete maximising the number of people who could be contained within. Their older store, on Ranganathan Street was inspired by such a design philosophy and is always packed. Always.

And then they went ahead and pulled the curtains off this structure. Not much to look at in the daytime, the curved diagonals on its frontage are still a departure from the pack-them-in school of store building. At night, with the recessed lighting along the diagonals, it is a reasonably pretty sight when one drives down Pondy Bazaar to Usman Road. With this kind of a jazzed up departure from tradition, one expected the store to move out of the 'leading low cost seller' slot.

The building may be new, but the business model remains pretty much the same. Keep costs low, in whatever way possible, undercut on pricing, advertise on the Tamizh channels. And the customers respond in the best way possible: the crowds keep flowing in!

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