Friedman group, Pearl Academy in retail consultancy alliance

Under this association, the Friedman group''s world-class retail consultancy services will be extended to the Indian market. Over 5,00,000 retailers worldwide use Friedman''s retail expertise, which include some of the leading names in the retail industry such as Nike, Neiman Marcus, Godiva Chocolatier, Kodak, Bata Shoes, Hallmark Cards, Neiman Marcus, Bata Shoes, Samsonite, Marriott Hotels, Benetton, Marks & Spencer, Fox Music and La-Z-Boy Furniture.

Says Friedman group founding CEO Harry J Friedman: "We are delighted to have forged a relationship with the Pearl Academy of Fashion, the premier industry-oriented professional training and consultancy centre in India. With the rapid growth of retailing in the Indian market, there exists a great need to provide sales, customer service and management skills to this key industry. We believe we have found the perfect partners to deliver the same Friedman retail technology that since 1980 has resulted in millions of dollars in sales increases for retailers of all sizes and industries in the US and countries around the world."

Says Pearl Academy of Fashion executive director A K G Nair: "The current decade has witnessed a dramatic metamorphosis in India''s retail sector. Quality and customer care have become key elements and industry buzzwords. The customer-oriented perspective has led to the evolution of customer care, relationship management, quality of service and customer loyalty programmes, which have emerged as core areas of concern. Moreover, retailers in India have begun to adopt and implement industry practice models that are predominantly prevalent in the west. Pearl Academy of Fashion, through its retail consultancy division, has entered into a license agreement with the Friedman group to bring effective retail staff management practices models to Indian retailers."

With locations in Delhi and Bangalore, Pearl Academy''s addition of the Friedman group and the proprietary programmes and services that they have developed will give Indian retailers the tools they need to increase their professionalism, productivity and profits.

The growing consumer base, increasing disposable incomes, falling real estate prices, rapid development of shopping malls and emerging breed of brand-conscious consumers, are the major factors propelling the growth of the Indian retail industry. Market studies indicate a rapid growth in organised retailing from a mere 2 per cent of the total retail industry to a significant 20 per cent by the end of the decade. The trend is driving the demand for adequately trained professionals in retail management that could adapt to rapidly changing consumer trends and business dynamics of the Indian retail industry.

A key ingredient to the success of any retail organisation is its people. The quality of workforce today is considered one of the top determinants of retail success, and the relatively low attention to people skills is already evident amongst the organised retail companies in India. Customer management over-rides almost all the vital business decisions in the current world economy, yet the Indian retail sector has yet to recognise the contribution of customer care personnel in this surging sector.