How much lower are prices because of the new retailers?
Are clothes and shoes at the malls and new retail stores in India much more expensive than in the United States? It seems that way, to me at least. For instance, during my last visit to Chennai, I bought a pair of Reebok sneakers having left my original pair back home in the US. This darn pair cost me Rs $125 (Rs 5,000) at the Reebok store in India, whereas the exact same pair cost me just $80 in the US. Around this time, a relative gifted me a shirt from ColorPlus. This shirt cost Rs $63 (Rs 2,500) versus $40 (if that) for an identical shirt in the US. I’ve experienced this “sticker shock” every time I’ve visited a store in India over the last two years.
1) What is your experience of prices in India vis-a-vis other countries, especially South East Asia and East Asia?
2) If prices are high in India, what’s the reason:
a) Brand licensing fees: This might hold for Reebok or Levi’s but certainly not for ColorPlus or Indian brands.
b) Real estate prices/ high rents: Perhaps. However, my guess is that while real estate prices in India have shot up recently, on average, retail space in the US is still more expensive than India. Besides, if rental costs were such a big component of costs, wouldn’t this create a huge opportunity for catalog/ online retailers?
c) Import duties/ tariffs: Hmm? I thought these clothes & shoes were made in India. I’ve bought shirts, trousers and suits in the US that were made in India, which cost me 50% to 70% of what they’d cost me in India.
d) Something else?
1) The only malls/ stores I’ve visited in India have been in Mumbai (Crossroads/ Vama/ some shops in Colaba & Fountain) and Chennai (City Centre/ Spencers/ Westside and a few others). In other words, my knowledge is limited and completely based on sporadic anecdotal evidence.
2) I don’t know much about prices for groceries – vegetables, fruits, grains — which is Reliance’s (initial) target, I think.