October Issue 2013

By | Newsliners | Published 11 years ago

Let’s say that you find smoked salmon, protein powder, soy milk, scented candles and a golf club all on your shopping list. You could drive around the city trying to procure each item from various stores. Or, you could go to Farid’s department store at the Ocean Mall and find everything under one roof.

The department store held its launch earlier this September and a small green carpet lead towards the entrance, where salespersons and management stood welcoming patrons and guests. Staff made the rounds with pastries courtesy of Rahat Bakery and salesgirls offered free makeovers at the cosmetics section.

To get a sense of this new store, imagine a hybrid between the massive Hyperstar in Dolmen Mall and the more upscale Agha’s in Clifton. In fact, Farid Virani, the managing director of Farid’s, has more than three decades of experience running Agha’s and knows the ins and outs of the market. And Farid’s aims to provide the ultimate shopping experience, offering everything from a cigars section to a discreetly located lingerie shop. Liberty Books, who offered a 10 percent discount on all books at the launch, have set up shop on the second level of the store and there is also a separate books and toys area for children. Models, dressed in costumes to represent different sections of the store, mingled with the crowd and although it was a bit odd to see a model standing near the produce section with a fake fruit basket atop her head, many people eagerly had their photographs taken with them.

Although the store has just been officially launched in Karachi, the management already has plans to open stores in Islamabad and Hyderabad as well. Farid’s faces competition from other large stores, but since it offers many products that others do not carry (and that too at competitive prices), it might just carve a niche for itself in the market.

Zehra Nabi is a graduate student in The Writing Seminars at the Johns Hopkins University. She previously worked at Newsline and The Express Tribune.