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Temptation is its other name



Monday to Sunday: ultimate shopping experience — Photo: Sampath Kumar G.P.

THERE IS this recurring ad for an air conditioner on TV, which has a woman tossing a grocery list at her couch potato husband, who, in turn, fobs it off on his young son, who promptly chucks the list to his teenage sister... nobody, not even the dog, wants to stir out on a holiday to replenish coffee powder stocks.

But how different the scene would have been if the family had had the swanky, spanking new supermarket, Monday to Sunday, to go to. They would probably be falling over each other to go shopping!

Koramangala retains its status of being Bangalore's hip and happening suburb with the opening of Monday to Sunday, bang on the busy cross of the Raheja Arcade hub.

Once you brave the traffic, the pollution, and the heat, the cool, fluorescent green sign of the shop entices you in from the road.

A word of caution... you can get just a tube of toothpaste in a hurry if you want to here, but you won't want to, once you get in. The store is a series of temptations strung together, one delectable distraction after another. If you are slightly hungry, for instance, you will be knocked off your feet the moment you step in by the strong and tantalising aroma of baked breads and cakes being made right in front of you in a hi-tech baking kitchen. Hot Breads has its only corporate outlet in the City located at this store, with a mind-boggling range of breads — from the "diabetic" bread to an exotic kraftcorn. If you have been dithering over the normally-available sweet, standard, or milk bread at your local grocer, try taking an agonising decision here — the shop offers 25 variants of bread! The pastry section has some unusual Hungarian gateaux and German black forest cakes.

Tearing oneself away from these gastronomic delights and embarking on an odyssey through the store is quite a feat. But once you do manage to do that, you find that every counter has enough and more to gawk at in terms of display and variety. The store is spread over a sprawling area of 5,000 sq. ft.. The store area has been used very intelligently and gives one a tremendous sense of space. The cool white interiors and spotless floors, reflecting the overhead lights, set off the vibrant and colourful display of various packaged goods.

An interesting aspect at the shop is that the display counters have been positioned in such a way as to offer products in the natural sequence of a customer's day. So, you begin with the toothpaste and soap shelves and move on to cereal and fruit juices.

At the far end of the store is the liquor section, to help you wind up a hectic day! It's one place where you get both that elusive French wine to go with an exotic dish and the exact shade of thread needed to hem your dress. A particular attraction is the fresh vegetables section, which offers cut vegetables as well. Monday to Sunday is the brainchild of Shamit Bhartia. Mr. Bhartia, the son of Shobhana Bhartia of The Hindustan Times, chose to promote this lifestyle shopping outlet. Recently returned from the US and barely in his mid-20s, Mr. Shamit Bhartia has joined hands with his father's huge business conglomerate, the Jubilant Organosys Group. They have made a strong start in the food business with Dominoes Pizza and with Hot Breads. Monday to Sunday is their new promotion.

The outlet at Koramangala is the second outlet in Bangalore, but the chain is getting bigger and better, from 1,350 sq. ft. in the first store, at Indiranagar, to a possible third store spread over 8,000 sq. ft. in a southern suburb of the City.

Although a Delhi person, with family interests in IT and media, Mr. Shamit is concentrating on Bangalore for the initial outlets of Monday to Sunday, as he feels that this is the most "evolved" city in India, with a cosmopolitan population receptive to new concepts.

Dinesh Malpani, the young GM of this store, reiterates the philosophy behind the store: customer convenience is the highest priority. Every brand is accommodated, in all sizes, variants, prices, and types. The bar-coding and marking of prices is also done in the most customer-friendly way. The scientific layout of the store, with easy visibility of all the sections, helps a customer make quick, sharp decisions. With excellent IT support in the back office and online information on product availability, the store aims at a 98 per cent replenishment of sold stocks in each cycle, and the huge product offering is maintained very carefully. What more can a shopper ask for?

SANDHYA IYENGAR

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