Our main competition today is e-commerce
Long before malls and exclusive brand outlets became commonplace, there was Akbarallys, India's first departmental store, founded by Fakhruddin T. Khorakiwala in 1897. The iconic store which started as a pharmacy introduced modern Indians to the idea of all-under-one-roof convenient shopping and organised retail. But what once resonated with Mumbaikars fell silent over the years. With dwindling footfalls and declining sales the first family of retail in Mumbai had to switch gears. And that's exactly what Aiman Khorakiwala did when she unveiled the new 10,000 square foot store in Fountain, now christened Akbarallys Men. The brand new store is now a premium multibrand store for men - a concept entirely different from its original. A shop-in-shop format, Akbarallys houses clothing and accessories from brands such as Calvin Klein, Ed Hardy, Gas, Tommy Hilfiger, Jack & Jones and Indian brands like Being Human, Indian Terrain, Spykar, Colorplus, Louis Phillipe, etc. Spread across two levels, the store also boasts of an in-house barber shop catering to quick rooming and styling needs of men. Located in the heart of South Mumbai's financial district - Fountain - the Akbarallys building stands in this heritage area designed during the British era. Restored back to its original structure, the store's interiors in shades of black and white are minimalistic and classic. The pillars continue to bear beautiful mouldings designed during its primordial days; vintage coloured mirrors and lights, rendering an industrial look, adorn the walls. Nivedita Jayaram Pawar spoke to director Aiman Khorakiwala on entering a new phase in retail with Akbarallys.
What prompted you to revamp an 118-year-old family store?
But why only a men's store?
What kind of investments were involved in the revamp?
What's the response to the new format?
DISCLAIMER: All views and opinions expressed in this column are solely of the interviewee, and they do not reflect in any way the opinion of Fibre2Fashion.com.