Future Group to build wholesale markets

Agre Developers, a Future Group company, formerly known as Future Mall Management, has struck a deal with Bangalore-based developer the Sattva Group to build a wholesale trading market on the lines of Dubai’s Dragon Mart and China’s Yiwu wholesale market. This is the first of the eight businessto-business (B2B) markets that the company is planning to start across major cities in the course of the next few years. These trading hubs will stock general merchandise, IT peripherals, hardware products along with other commodities typically spread across a 5-10 acre space. The BSE listed-company will also be getting into the infra-logistics and retail infrastructure business. 

Kishore Biyani had merged his real-estate business with Kolkata-based developer Sumit Dabriwala into Agre Developers to strengthen the retail major’s foothold in the realty space. The retail to financial services group runs stores like Big Bazaar and Food Bazaar.
Sumit Dabriwala, MD, Agre Developers, told TOI, that the strategy for the company going forward will be to tie-up with strategic partners to facilitate the opening of these tradings hubs and also to build infra-logistics across the country. Agre Developers will work in tandem with Future Supply Chain, the logistics and supply chain vertical of the group, on the infra-logistics business.
“Even as the demand of logistics in the country expands, supply of good quality logistics infrastructure is extremely low. This is where we will work with Future Supply Chain and also with other logistics companies,” Dabriwala said.
The company will look to plough about Rs 500 crore of equity across the three formats and is evaluating the possibility of inviting strategic partners into each of these businesses. The total outlay on the three business verticals will be around Rs.3500 crore over the next five years, said Dabriwala.
“While the wholesale trading and the infra-logistics business will be in partnership with another entity, the retail infrastructure vertical of the company will be operated independently.
“On the retail infrastructure side, the mandate is to play a bigger role which will start right from spotting the location of the mall to designing the mall, determining the tenant mix, sub-leasing the mall and managing it over the life cycle of the transaction,” Dabriwala pointed out.

Rural India: Glitter in times of gloom.

No company can afford to ignore two third of the consumer population pie. However inaccessible they may be and whatever changes may be required in the company’s strategy to attract them. No wonder, the growing power of the rural consumer (accounting for 64 per cent of country’s total consumer base) is forcing Indian blue chips and MNCs to flock to rural markets. Not only FMCG companies but even banks, auto, telecom and retail companies are finding it difficult to keep themselves away from the lure.

Fathom this. Seventy per cent of India’s and 12 per cent of global population lives in rural India and contributes 50 per cent of the country’s GDP. Their population of 75 crore (750 million) is more than that of US, UK, France, Japan, Italy and Germany put together. In fact, as per Mckinsey, despite rising urbanisation, 63 per cent of India’s population will continue to live in the rural areas even in 2025.

Surging ahead in terms of growth

As per National Council of Applied Economic Research, rural market accounts for 55 per cent of LIC [Get Quote] policies, 70 per cent of toilet soap consumption, and 50 per cent of TV, fans, bicycles, tea and wrist watch consumption. So as a target market, it is attractive not only because of the size, but also because of impressive growth potential.

Rural GDP has been witnessing strong growth in the last four years (avg of 4 per cent) not only on the back of increase in minimum support prices for the agri-products but also due to availability of alternative employment opportunities.

Income_Distribution

Income_Distribution

Source: Business Today

In 2008, the rural areas grew at a robust rate of 25 per cent as compared to 10 per cent growth in urban retail market According to a McKinsey, rural India, would become bigger than the total consumer market in countries such as South Korea or Canada in another twenty years. It would grow almost four times from estimated size of $577 bn in 2007. While the per capita income is lower than urban areas, the customer base is thrice that of urban areas.

Resilient to slowdown

On account of negligible tax liability and little or no burden of loan repayments, the Indian rural population has a higher propensity to save. The rural areas account for 33 per cent India’s total savings. Being more conservative than their urban counterparts, the rural populace has not burnt their fingers in the real estate or stock market bust. Further, the rural income distribution pattern is also changing and the bottom is getting narrower.

While 18 per cent of rural India has earnings in the range Rs 45,000 to Rs 215,000 per annum, 58 per cent of urban population earns in this range. However, 27 m individuals form a part of this income bracket in rural areas while in urban areas it is about 29 m; of which large base is already tapped.

No of households (m)

Demographic classification

Urban

Rural

Total

Rich ( income greater than Rs 1 m
per annum)

4.8

1.3

6.1

Well off (income greater than Rs 0.5
m per annum)

29.5

27.4

56.9

Total

34.3

28.7

63.0

% of total

54.4%

45.6%

Source : Ministry of Communications & Information Technology , India

As per the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India, the rural market is becoming increasingly attractive for FMCG, automobiles and organised retail businesses. Rural India accounts for more than 40 per cent consumption in major FMCG categories such as personal care, fabric care, and hot beverages.

FMCG sector in rural areas is expected to grow by 40 per cent as against 25 per cent in urban areas in the coming quarters. The size of retail market in India is estimated at US$ 280 bn of which the rural retail market works out to be $112 bn. This is expected to double in next 4 to 5 years because of the huge potential. Even auto companies in recent times are witnessing shift in trend as they are gearing to explore the huge market potential lying in the rural areas.

Top 20 cities

Other cities

Rural

Car

23

5

3

Bicycle

37

61

69

Colour Tv

68

47

17

AC

5

3

0

Refrigerator

63

34

8

Computer

8

3

1

Source: Mint

As rural India becomes more lucrative and the government becomes more committed to its development, schemes like the rural employment guarantee, Bharat Nirman, focus on rural education, debt waiver plan and higher support prices will aid the rural demand. Although the penetration levels are still very low, the scope is huge. And India Inc. is not letting go of this opportunity.

Pantaloon sees future in Value Retail

IN A move that could pave the way for new investors to step in, Pantaloon Retail will spin off two of its biggest revenue grossers — Big Bazaar and Food Bazaar — into a new entity, Future Value Retail. The two formats constitute over 55% of the turnover of the country’s biggest retailer. Food Bazaar president Sadashiv Nayak has taken charge of both Big Bazaar and Food Bazaar while Rajan Malhotra, president of Big Bazaar, has moved to the Future Group as president, retail strategy.

When contacted, Future Group CEO Kishore Biyani said: “We have been evaluating the option of creating a new entity for our value retailing businesses.” Last year, Pantaloon Retail had secured board approvals for hiving off the businesses into independent subsidiaries that could be listed at a later date.

Under the proposal, Pantaloon Retail will be a holding company. Pantaloon officials familiar with the development said the group is examining a structure that would eventually enable it to strike a JV with a global retailer. Pantaloon Retail has been in talks with Carrefour, the world’s second-largest French supermarket group, for a JV in India.

Under the scheme of things, Future Value Retail would serve as a major supply-chain entity for all Future Group store formats and help the company prune costs, a group official said. Technically, the sourcing and back-end of the store formats would be one while the front ends would continue to operate as separate entities. Currently, all Food Bazaar outlets, comprising its food and grocery supermarket business, are located within Big Bazaar formats.

While Big Bazaar is the group’s hypermarket business and has 109 stores, Food Bazaar is a supermarket chain that has 152 stores with most of them housed adjacent to Big Bazaar. Food Bazaar’s business model resembles the value model of global retailer Wal-Mart. According to Nielsen data, Food Bazaar’s share in the FMCG space in terms of modern trade is about 28%. Pantaloon Retail is estimated to report sales of Rs 10,000 crore for 2008-09 while the combined revenues of Big Bazaar and Food Bazaar are estimated to touch Rs 5,000 crore.

A proposed joint venture with a foreign retailer would enable the Future Group access sizeable dollar funds needed to expand its business. A foreign partner will also help the group bring in more efficiency in sourcing and logistics, helping it drive down prices and boost margins. Besides Big Bazaar, the Future Group runs Food Bazaar, KB’s Fair Price shops, Pantaloons, Central, Home Town, eZone and Aadhaar. The Pantaloon Retail stock closed at Rs 130.15, up 5.46%, on the BSE on Monday.

In a challenging consumer environment, bargain hunters are flocking to modern value-retail formats like Big Bazaar, Food Bazaar, D’Mart and More, which have been coming up with discount offers to attract customers. This reflects a global trend, wherein value-retail formats are growing despite the overall slowdown in the economy. Last month, US-based Wal-Mart reported a strong 5.1% increase in same-store sales (excluding gasoline sales) in the US, even though lifestyle chains, like Target, Macy’s and Abercrombie & Fitch, suffered a drop in sales.

RETAIL BLISS

Pantaloon may use the new format to strike JV with France’s Carrefour
A proposed JV would bring in the required funds for Future Group to scale up its business Presence of a foreign partner, in all likelihood, will have a positive impact on the efficiency level, which would bring down prices and help margins

FALLING rentals help retailers expand

FALLING rentals are proving to be a boon for a cross-section of businesses which, for a while, had to defer their expansion plans in various cities on acount of high rentals.

Cafe Coffee Day (CCD), ethnic apparel wear Biba and Samsonite, are some of the players looking to expand in Tier-I cities. High rentals were a stumbling block in most locations. That has changed now. “On an average, we have managed to bring down rents by about 15-20%. There have been instances where the reduction has been as much as 50%,” says Samsonite director (global) Ramesh Tainwala.

The correction in some locations in Delhi has been as much as 80%. Though, Samsonite opened only three new stores in 2008, it plans to add 35 stores by 2009 end. Biba is also using the slowdown as an opportunity to expand. “We have renegotiated our rentals for 10 properties in the last one week alone,” says Biba Apparel director Sanjay Bindra.

In one of the existing stores in Navi Mumbai, it managed to negotiate its rental and brought it down by 50%. Lower rentals are now helping it expand to prime areas in New Delhi, where it has just one store. Today, Biba has 64-standalone stores across the country and plans are on to add 30 more over the next year. A property broker, on the condition of anonymity, cites the case of a Hyderabad mall where the rent was at Rs 300 per square foot, a year ago. That is now down to just over Rs 100 per square foot. Likewise, rates in a prominent mall in south Mumbai have reduced from Rs 600 per square foot to a third at Rs 200 per square foot. Like a host of other players, CCD, too, plans to use the fall in rentals to expand in Tier-I locations.

“Rentals in malls would have fallen by 20-30%, while on high streets it would have fallen by 15-30%. Falling rentals are definitely helping our expansion plans and helping us enter locations where we were not present earlier,” says CCD director Alok Gupta. He adds that it takes less time to negotiate with developers. The plan is to establish a stronger presence in south Mumbai and Delhi where developers were unwilling to negotiate on rents. CCD, which currently has 800 outlets, plans to ramp it up to 1,000 in the next financial year. A large part of it is scheduled to come up in the 115 cities where it already has a presence.

BUILDING BLOCKS

Correction in some locations in Delhi has been as much as 80% Samsonite plans to add 35 stores by 2009 end Biba, too, plans to add 30 stores over the next year Biba has managed to negotiate its rentals and bring it down by 50% CCD, which currently has 800 outlets, plans to ramp it up to 1,000 in the next fiscal.

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