Even as Reliance Fresh sits on the hotplate, Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries Ltd has entered the competitive business of apparel department stores, one of four formats in the Reliance Retail plan (the others are Fresh, Digital and Mart). A week ago, the company opened its first 30,000 sq. ft Reliance Trends store at Ambience Mall, Gurgaon—10 more are expected to be launched by 31 December 2007. The store, which is conveniently located right after the under-construction toll bridge at NH8, is easily accessible from both New Delhi and Gurgaon.
This store has something for everyone, and for a lot cheaper. There’s a significant selection of everything from T-shirts, kurtas and saris to suits and socks.
Reasonable prices at Reliance Trends are a crowd-puller
To make it customer-friendly and easily accessible, the store is divided into broad sections such as men’s clothing, women’s clothing and children’s clothing and then sub-divided according to brand names. The company has tied up with 75 Indian and international brands such as Duke, Vibe, Reebok, and Reid & Taylor and also includes their in-house brands such as Network and Netplay. While the designs are not exactly of ramp quality, it is value for money.
The store currently has a launch money-back promotion till 31 October. Every customer who spends Rs1,000 gets two redeemable coupons of Rs500 each, one of which can be used right away and the second when you shop at the store again.
Everything is cheap and cheerful. To prove it, every price tag sports an MRP and an RRP (Reliance Retail Price), which shows the difference between the two. They also have bins full of discounted treasures, but you have to rummage through them to find what you want. The icing on the cake is the men’s tailoring room where you can get trousers and shirts made to order, for Rs199 and Rs149 respectively. And just to prove that looks do matter, the store is an open plan, well-lit, well-manned and easy-to-navigate space that makes the shopping experience satisfactory.
There isn’t much of a selection of western evening wear for women and the women’s handbag selection is dismal at best. While Reliance Trends is a good bet for everyday-wear purchases, you may not want to try this joint for a special occasion.
As we’ve said over and over again, the pricing is better than reasonable. In the women’s ethnic wear section, you can buy a kurta for as little as Rs350, while an embroidered chiffon sari costs Rs1,695; in the lingerie category, we spotted bras for as little as Rs49. The menswear section is affordable, too—polo-neck T-shirts start at Rs199.
Select Citywalk Mall, Saket, New Delhi
If you dislike the long drive from the Capital to Gurgaon to enjoy a good mall experience, then here’s reason to cheer. Select Citywalk Mall has opened—albeit partially. The 150 stores in the mall are mainly designer wear and branded products. The store names include Mango, Fabindia, Pratap, Hidesign, Clinique, Kimaya, Wills Lifestyle, etc. The Shopper’s Stop outlet, which is spread across two floors, is extensive and also stocks the Mothercare line—so now you don’t have to go all the way to Rajouri Garden to get these goodies. The mall will also house 11 restaurants (yet to open, except Barista), a food court and a new PVR Multiplex (yet to open).
The area is spacious, with lots of natural light. The open Barista café is a great stop for a cuppa, and there is an extensive selection of restaurants such as Pizza Hut, KFC, Sattvik and Cocoa by Belgique. But, if you want to get the full benefit of this shopping complex, wait for a few more weeks till all the outlets are functional.
We got lost as soon as we hit the mall. There are no clear directions on how to proceed from the underground parking lot into the main building. As a result, we ended up at the back, which still has a lot of rubble because of ongoing construction work. The food court is small, though there is a patio to accommodate the winter throng.
The mall is largely about designer wear and big brands. A combo meal at the food court costs from Rs119 to 148.