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Trust films to show how India shops

THE OWNER of two of India's biggest retail successes, Big Bazaar and Pantaloon, follows an unconventional research method to identify potential markets. He tracks Bollywood.

india Updated: Jan 18, 2006 01:25 IST

THE OWNER of two of India's biggest retail successes, Big Bazaar and Pantaloon, follows an unconventional research method to identify potential markets. He tracks Bollywood.

"If Salaam Namaste has done well in a city, then our stores will definitely do well there," says Kishore Biyani, managing director, Pantaloon Retail (India) Ltd.

There's method in this apparent madness though. He looks at successful films as mirroring the preferences of the people. If a film on a live-in relationship does well in a city, it means it is ready for modern and urban ideas. Hence, Biyani believes, they are ready for stores like his. Biyani also uses the traditional market research at times, but only to confirm his own hypothesis. So far it has worked for him.

Biyani has been using films to follow the increasing urbanization of the Indian people - and find potential markets for his stores. So while Dil Chahta Hai did well in only the metros a few years ago, Kal Ho Na Ho raced ahead in the smaller cities like Indore, where Biyani went on to open his stores.

Then came Bunty Aur Babli, which had the lead pair from small-town background with big-town aspirations. Everyone in his company was made to watch it to understand the consumer.

Salaam Namaste has surprised everyone, including its producers, by turning out to be a hit in places like Siliguri, Ranchi, Lucknow and Kanpur among many others. So, expect Big Bazaar or Pantaloon stores in these cities shortly.

Biyani also follows the TV. Some of his finds: youth base their preferences on factors other than talent, mainly looks and style (source: Indian Idol). Women are taken more seriously if seen in sarees

First Published: Jan 18, 2006 01:25 IST