Towards the end of last year Tata Trent acquired the popular Landmark chain (Books-stationery-gifts-music) from the south-based co. owning the chain. In Kolkata the only Landmark store in Emami Shoppers' City at Lord Sinha Rd was a joint venture (JV) between city-based personal and healthcare products major Emami group and Landmark known as Emami Landmark Store Pvt Ltd. Emami, not interested in selling their stake to Tatas in the store which was doing very well, bought over Landmark's 50% stake to turn the store into their wholly owned business. The store has been rechristened Emami Retail Pvt Ltd (ERPL) and the store nameplate has changed to Starmark. The 20000 sqft Starmark store thus became the flagship store of ERPL's forthcoming Starmark chain whose next stores at City Centre and South City Mall were announced on the face of Tata Trent's disclosure of Landmark's re-entry in Kolkata in near future.
The second Starmark store has just come up in City Centre, Salt Lake (Opposite Apollo Clinic). I had a walkthrough in the store this week. The design is strikingly different from the erstwhile Landmark store in Kolkata. It's dimly lit, has wood-coloured racks and matching floor tiles. The look is rich and elegant in this smaller store. It's old world charm is unmistakable. I feel the legendary book lovers of this city would love to spend time in the store. A definite value addition to the residential area of Salt Lake. I had seen Gautam Jatia, CEO, Starmark, personally supervising the store's decor a few days before it's debut. With Crossword in an expansion mode (2nd store opened in Sector V, Salt Lake's business district ), Landmark's sure going to meet tough competition.