Nepali Times
Ready for retail

When Bishal Bazaar opened in the 1980s, it quickly became the stuff of urban legends-the size, the variety and, of course, the escalator.

Today's Kathmanduites are decidedly more blas? about the mega shopping experience, and understandably so considering the number of new shopping mall, complexes and department stores that have mushroomed across the Valley. These behemoth structures stand as a tribute to Kathmandu's commitment to consumerism, and each seems even larger and more inclusive than the rest-the United World Trade Centre currently under construction in Tripureswor being a prime example.

Gone are the days spent hopping from Darbar Marg to New Road and then to Ason for a full Dasain shop. For the time conscious, things have never been so easy. Even so, it still pays to shop around for the best shopping centre-and that's where Nepali Times helps you out.


Two decades after its first department store opened in Tripureswor, the Bluebird franchise has expanded to include another branch in Lajimpat, and is now completing its flagship store\'s transition into a bonafide mall.

When the waning fortunes of the tourism industry forced the Bluestar Hotel to close 11 months ago, it provided an ideal opportunity for Binod Tuladhar to realise his ambitions of creating the ultimate all-in-one shopping experience. Half the old hotel has now been converted into shops. "There's a food court, over 50 brands and outlets including a beauty salon, a foot massage centre and a florist," says Tuladhar, explaining that although each outlet rents their own space, it still all comes under a single overall management.

The interior has been done up in a similar style to department stores abroad, and the shops carry everything from perfume, watches, sportswear, lingerie, and luggage to various brands like Addidas, Bossini, Levi's, and Reebok. The mall also houses Kathmandu's first clothing outlets of Baleno, Dapper, Crimsoune, Koutons, Women's Wear, and Duke. There are also Indian brands like Peter England, Raymond, Woodland, Park Avenue, and Excalibur while local brands are Fitrite and John Players. Plum, a lingerie store that sells brands like Kyra, Wavily, Anne Bra, Sabina and Jockey has opened its second outlet here and so has Top Class, a leading fashion store for women.

The food court, which includes restaurants like Bawarchi, Road House Caf? and Hunan, is set to open between Dasain and Tihar. The mall will also introduce valet parking afterTihar.

Opening hours: 10AM to 8PM everyday
Special offers: 10 percent discount on all garments, 5-40 percent discount on American Tourister luggage, 1.5 litres of Pepsi free for every food purchase above Rs 2,000, 600ml Pepsi free for every food purchase above Rs 1,000 until Tihar
For a privilege card: Accumulate bills worth Rs 12,000 from any Bluebird stores and get discounts all year round
Other attractions: Children's cr?che Punkie Universe and Furniture Land, which is offering a 10 percent discount on all furniture until 25 October
Parking: Available for 70 cars and 60 motorcycles


The Saleways Department Store in Pulchok is actually a branch of the Saleways in Pokhara, which started 14 years ago. Following the success of the two Pokhara stores, it opened in Kathmandu in 2004, swiftly gaining loyal customers because of its pricing and impeccable service. It claims to have the lowest prices of any department store in town, and if you're running short of time the salespeople offer to complete your shopping for you.

"Saleways is popular because of its friendliness. Our motto is buy cheap, sell cheap," says manager Panu Dutta Paudel. If you find a product cheaper elsewhere, "bring your bill back and we'll return your money," adds Paudel.
Well-organised aisles make shopping intuitive and easy, and transactions are swift. Apart from food and beverages, there\'s a a separate cheese corner while the two floors above sell clothing.

Opening hours: 8AM to 8PM everyday
Special offers: 10 percent discount on all garments, up to 50 percent discount on selected items, and 2-3 percent off on food until Tihar
Dasain lucky draw: Winners of Rs 7,50,000 worth of prizes including digital fridge, washing machines, vacuum cleaners to be announced after Tihar
For a privilege card: Contact the store after Tihar. Standard Chartered Bank credit card holders enjoy cash back on discounts and are eligible for the lucky draw
Other attractions: A separate bakery, fruits, organic and non-organic vegetable stand
Parking: 10 cars inside the compound, 15-25 outdoor parking, and up to 70 motorcycles


While Boudha seems a bit out of the way for most city residents' grocery needs, many have found the trek worth it since Gemini Grocery opened in 1991. Today there\'s a second branch in Jawlakhel which opened in 2002, but true fans will still go to the massive new department store complex in Boudha. They sell a vast range of Teflon coated products and are the only department store with a separate freezer unit for frozen products. If you're looking for pure, unadulterated mustard oil, head to Gemini.

Opening hours: 8AM to 8PM
Special offers: Up to 40 percent discount on all garments until Tihar
For a privilege card: Regular customers eligible. Distribution begins next month
Other attractions: A bakery and a fresh fruits and vegetable shop
Parking: 25 cars



Currently part of the former Hotel Narayani complex in Pulchok, Namaste Department store now covers a staggering 17,000 sq feet. Namaste started its first store 15 years ago in Jawlakhel and relocated to Pulchok in 2004, and also has another branch in Maharajganj. It's a must-visit for discerning drinkers, as it has over 3,000 kinds of liquor and boasts one of the best selections of wine in town, meticulously organised by category, year and country. A small kiosk between the stairways acts as a book corner, ideal for the reluctant shopping companion who prefers to leaf through the magazines and novels.

"We also have the best electronic appliances in town," says Jeewan Sakya, Namaste's managing director. Sakya knows how to keep his customers happy as the client list has jumped over 8,000.

Opening hours: 8.30 AM to 8PM everyday
Special offers: 5-50 percent discount up to 2 October.
Himalayan Bank lottery every day: Use a credit card for purchases Rs 2,000 or over, and you could win a prize worth Rs 2,000
For a privilege card: Buy goods worth Rs 2000, earn 400 mileage points and become eligible for a Dasain upahar
Other attractions: A separate bakery and a grocery inside the premises
Parking: 15-20 cars

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)