The Significance of Departmental Stores in Pakistan

The Significance of Departmental Stores in Pakistan

The Significance of Departmental Stores

Departmental store refers to a retail establishment which deals in satisfying a wide range of customer’s personal and residential related product needs and also offers multiple choice of commodities at variable prices, in all products categories. Departmental Stores offer a huge variety of items to customers under one roof. The benefit of going to a departmental store is that customers get all the products at one place. They don’t have to go from one place to another. Currently, it is emerging as one the leading business ventures in Pakistan as it provides all the basic merchandise under one roof.

Departmental stores provide a wide variety of options to the end-users and thus fulfill all their shopping needs. Their merchandise consists of electronic appliances, apparel, jewelry, toiletries, cosmetics, footwear, sportswear, toys, books, CDs, DVDs, crockery and regular grocery items. There are many departmental stores in nook and corner of the country. To include Utility Stores Corporation (USC), Saleeqa, Euro Store, Chase Department Store and many others.

In Pakistan the concept of Departmental Store has gained popularity in late eighties after the emergence of Utility Stores by the government. Utility Stores Corporation currently has 5,491 store outlets with the mandate to provide government subsidized grocery items. The same concept has been used by Canteen Department Store (CSD) with presence in 108 Locations in Pakistan.  This led to the development of ‘self-serving store’ and customers started walking through a narrow maze of shelves containing groceries. They selected the goods of their choice and walked through the maze to a cashier. This phenomenon grew rapidly and now thousands of stores exist in the big cities which include Lahore, Rawalpindi, Multan, Faisalabad, Gujranwala and this number is growing day by day. 

The Significance of Departmental Stores

The target clientele of these departmental store is the population and family units from different strata of society. Research studies show that in Pakistan’s mega cities a majority of households with larger family sizes shop at general stores, while those with smaller family sizes shop at large supermarkets.

With the advent of new societies and residential towns, new stores are available everywhere. Location and services are some of the key factors in the success of a store.

The Role of Retail Manager in Departmental Store:  A retail manager is responsible to run a store successfully. They work dedicatedly on the ground floor and are constant in communication with their customers and staff. They are responsible to ensure that their staff provide great customer service and monitor the financial performance of the store.

The responsibilities of retailer includes:

  • Recruiting, training, supervising and appraising staff
  • Managing budget
  • Maintaining financial accounts
  • Tackling the customer enquiries
  • Managing pricing and stock control
  • Ensuring compliance with health and safety law
  • Organizing promotional materials and displays
  • Liaison with Head Office (If working in a chain departmental store)

These retail managers and workers are provided with salaries, benefits and promotional prospects with departmental stores offering the highest incomes and best opportunities for great prospects. Relocation is a common criteria for promotion and during early training programs. Unfortunately, Pakistan lacks in both upper management and lower management positions and doesn’t have a capable labor, trained, qualified and experienced manpower in its retail market. The sector is not supported by the government it should be.

A retail body should be setup to promote the sector and the government should assist its growth by taking ingenuity to update the retail sector. They must develop a vision and do their business with a purpose.

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