Brand Factory decides to charge entry fee on free-shopping days

Moving away from steps that no other retailer has taken, Future Group is charging customers a cover of Rs 100-250 to enter its discount fashion format-Brand Factory.

The cover charge would be applicable during a five-day promotion campaign from November 22-26, when Brand Factory will charge consumers buying goods worth Rs 5,000 at maximum retail price (MRP) from its 50-odd stores only

Rs 2,000, and even that would be returned in the form of free merchandise, gift vouchers and cash back in the company’s mobile wallet. Customers can also redeem the entry fee against purchases.

“We aren’t really charging, because it is refundable,” said Kishore Biyani, founder of the country’s largest retailer. “The move is similar to how pre-booking happens online and in the bargain we are gaining customer loyalty,” he said. But why a cover charge? “It is to encourage serious shoppers, and bring exclusivity to their shopping experience,” he added.

A year ago, Brand Factory, a discount chain built on the lines of American chains such as TJ Max and Marshalls did a business of Rs 115 crore during a similar three-day shopping event selling more than a million pieces of garments.

But the crowd was too big to manage. Some 12 lakh people visited Brand factory outlets during the event. This time, the company expects a more controlled environment.

To cut waiting time, companies, including some restaurants, are making the most of technology to come up with alternatives to beat the queue — deploying staff with handheld devices, setting up mobile counters, and/or offering home delivery.

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