Big bazaars score over kiranas

EARLYthis year, when escalating prices were crunching household budgets, modern retailers were more responsive in cutting or holding prices of day-to-day products than traditional retailers, thanks to their ability to check operational costs bargain hard with suppliers and launch private labels.

According to a study by The Nielsen Company, modern retail dropped prices by more, or increased them by less, for more product categories than traditional retailers, or kiranas, between the last quarter of 2009 (Oct-Dec) and the first quarter of 2010 (Jan-Mar).

“The power of modern retail lies in the scale and efficiencies which we have built over the years,” says Kishore Biyani, CEO of Future Group that operates retail formats such as Food Bazaar, Big Bazaar, Pantaloon and KB’s Fairprice stores.

The Nielsen Shop Census study compared prices of 47 commonly used items including toothpastes, washing powder and confectionery. Modern retail dropped prices by more, or increased them by less, than traditional retailers for 29 product categories while traditional retailers did better in 18 categories.

It collected data from 16,000 stores (11,000 urban and 5,000 rural, in both modern and traditional retail) in 462 towns and 1,427 villages.

During this period, the rate of inflation, as measured by the Wholesale Price index, was hovering around 10% and food inflation was more than 12%.
In the past two years, modern retail has been able to significantly cut operational costs related to real estate rentals, energy costs and increase persquare-feet productivity of employees leading to savings in people costs.
They also launched private labels to get a better grip on selling prices and profit margins, and some savings were passed onto customers.

Higher collaboration with small and medium suppliers as well as distributors of large FMCG companies helped them cut costs in transportation and logistics.

Efficiencies of scale helps one source the goods closer to the manufacturer says Mr Biyani. In 2009, Big Bazaar sourced 26,000 tonnes of rice, 4 crore pieces of clothing, 20 lakh suitcases, 36 lakh mixer-grinders, 45,000 manufactured beds, 20 lakh bedsheets and 19,000 LCD TVs. Each of these figures will be higher by a minimum of 30% for the year 2010, he says. “Such large sourcing allows us to get better prices directly from manufacturers and producers.”

Big Bazaar is the largest player in the segment contributing over 33% of modern retail sales. Other top retail formats competing with traditional kirana for essential purchases include Reliance Retail, Aditya Birla Retail’s More and Spencer’s Retail.

Kumar Rajagopalan, CEO, Retail Association of India, says strong sourcing power helps modern formats offer better prices. “They have done away with the extra level of intermediaries,” he says.

Meanwhile, grocers too are working on protecting their turf by leveraging on their strengths such as customer relationships, home delivery, credit facilities and expanding their product portfolio.

Top FMCG companies such as Hindustan Unilever, Procter & Gamble Marico and Godrej have begun adopting kiranas, teaching them category management and effective merchandising to counter big retailers and their private labels.

Bharatiya Udyog Vyapar Mandal (BUVM), the biggest national-level association of mom-and-pop stores, has formed city-centric associations that negotiate directly with manufacturers such as Unilever and P&G and do away with any middlemen.

This helped kiranas offer 5-20% discounts on MRP of branded products like detergents, shampoos soaps, oil and atta.

“When prices rose due to inflation some kirana stores offered customers the option of paying in instalments apart from extending them credit for a month,” says Vijay Prakash Jain, secretary general of BUVM that comprises 17,000 state and district-level associations across 27 states.

Interestingly, kiranas managed the prices of items such as detergent bars toilet soaps, shampoo, packaged tea and iodised salt better than modern retail, according to the Nielsen study.

Currently, traditional retail, both grocers & chemists, constitute over 95% of total sales in the country.

Modern trade at just 3-5% of the total national industry sales, had grown aggressively at over 35-40% contributing to over 15-25% sales for most consumer goods companies last year.

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Retailers Work under one roof by sharing space.

Now Rival Retailers Work under one roof

SHARING SPACE TO EXPAND SPECIALTY CHAINS

THEY are fierce rivals in the marketplace, but big retailers such as Future Group, Reliance Retail, RPG Retail and Aditya Birla Retail now tap each other’s synergies to expand their specialty chains.

So, walk into a ‘Central’ mall of Kishore Biyani’s Future Group and you may well see Reliance TimeOut, the gift-music-book format of Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Retail. Reliance’s optical chain Vision Express shares some premises of Birla group’s ‘More’ hypermarkets, while RPG Retail has rolled out 20 Music World stores inside Future Group’s Big Bazaar outlets.
“Retailers have now realised that they alone cannot manage all categories on their own, how much hard they may try,” says Arvind Singhal, chairman of retail consultancy Technopak Advisors.
Future Group CEO Kishore Biyani says it’s a win-win model for both retailers and customers. “The retailers can exploit each other’s synergies in non-competing categories, which ultimately helps the customer get a wider choice from the same store,” he says. “We are open to locate our specialty stores in other’s premises, if such opportunities come up.”
There has been a flurry of deals and expansions in the $20-billion organized retail sector over the last five years since companies such as Reliance, Aditya Birla and Bharti entered the turf and started floating specialty chains on their own or in tieup with foreign players.
“There are obvious opportunities to associate with each other, provided the brand positioning of the stores match,” says Bijou Kurien, president and chief executive
(lifestyle) of Reliance Retail.
He says that this model of co-locating stores could emerge as a way to expand. “We understand each other’s issues like constraints in standalone expansion and profitability.”
The concept of shop-in-shop within largeformat stores such as hypermarkets is selling like hot cakes among garment and other single/limited product retailers because it saves them the cost of operating standalone stores and gives access to a captive consumer base of the large format.
Also, specialty shop-in-shop owners need not worry about associated costs like security, civil engineering and air-conditioning, says Mr Singhal of Technopak.
Retailers say running a shop-in-shop costs at least 25% less than a standalone shop of the same size.
These deals mostly follow a revenue-sharing model, but retailers say there is no standard formula on the percentage of revenue shared. It depends on the customer traffic the large store is able to drawn.
In some cases, there could be sharing of shop-floor employees, sharing of loyalty schemes and payment counters.
“The model of collaborative expansion will drive efficiencies,” says K Dasaratharaman, president (speciality retail) of RPG Retail, which plans to more than double the number of its music-and-movie chain Music World outlets inside Big Bazaar. “We are talking to few others like Aditya Birla Group to expand on this model,” he says.
Shoppers Stop vice-chairman B S Nagesh says the chain will explore this model to expand its book retail chain Crossword. “Distribution has emerged as the key point in the country,” he says.
Reliance Retail
Reliance DIGITAL — Consumer durable & information technology
Reliance TRENDS — Apparel & accessories
Reliance WELLNESS — Health, wellness & beauty
Reliance FOOTPRINT — Footwear
Reliance JEWELS — Jewellery
Reliance TIMEOUT — Books, music & entertainment
Reliance AUTOZONE — Automotive products & services
Reliance LIVING — Homeware, furniture, modular kitchens, furnishings SPECIALTY CHAINS OF BIG RETAILERS
Future Group
PLANET SPORTS — Sports lifestyle NAVARAS — Jewellery aLL — Fashion for plus-sized people DEPOT — Books
RPG Retail
MUSIC WORLD BOOKS & BEYOND
Tata Group
LANDMARK — Books, music, gifts, movie

Target to Add Mini Markets to 100 Stores

In a bid to increase business and customer count, Minneapolis-based Target Corp. will add new store-within-a-store grocery and fresh foods mini markets in about 100 new and remodeled stores during the course of this year, according to Progressivegrocer.com. If deemed a success, the company may eventually expand the section to all of its stores, said Target CEO Gregg Steinhafel in press reports. Although Target has long offered a full array of groceries at its SuperTarget stores, as well as a scaled-down presentation of food and beverages in most of its other stores, the latest iteration of its food-focused format aims to increase those offerings in its standard-size stores. The chain first tested the concept last year at two Twin Cities, Minn., stores and added eight additional test locations in other states earlier this year. The test stores now carry 50 percent to 200 percent more food products than its traditional stores, including a more prominent array of fresh produce, meats and bakery items in roughly 1,500 sq. ft. of space.

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