Organised retail, now represented in the city by Big Bazaar and small players like Arambagh's Food Mart and C3, is set to witness a big change coming year. Subhiksha, the Chennai-based and Mumbai-strong retail chain is going to blast the marketplace with no less than 90 stores by April 2007.
There will be a Subhiksha store in virtually every neighbourhood. And their strategy will be to saturate the city as soon as possible. Organised retail is showing impressive growth in the city with the rich and the upwardly mobile increasingly depending on it. It's a boon for the working couples who are hard pressed about time to shop.
Big Bazaar started changing the shopping scenario a few years back with it's first hypermarket in the city ar VIP Rd. Today it is a 6-store-strong chain, soon going to open two more stores in Kankurgachhi and Sinthi. The chain has two hypermarkets branded Big Bazaar at VIP Rd and Metropolis mall at Hiland Park and four standalone grocery and packaged consumer goods stores branded Food Bazaar at Camac Street Pantaloons, Alipore, Gariahat and Mani Karn, the upcoming housing project on EM Bypass at Beliaghata.
Subhiksha will be different in format too. Unlike Big Bazaar whose USP is great bargains it's a hardcore discount chain offering 9-10% on an average on packaged goods, where the most you get at Big Bazaar on an average is 2%.
Arambagh's Food Mart is the biggest chain in terms of scale. It has 18 stores as of now. But as an organised player they are way behind Big Bazaar. At best an Arambagh's Food Mart can be called a low-profile neighbourhood department store. They are small and clumsy, low on the comfort factor, offering small maneuvering space to consumers when the footfall is high. As an insight, one finds edible oil packs on the floor, while the chain's own brand of grocery goods (Rice, dal, spices) are kept on the racks. In Big Bazaar and C3 the edible oil packs are arranged neatly on dedicated racks.
Subhiksha looks like a blessing for the average consumers who will be spoilt for choice and whose shopping habits will be transformed. Soon shopping will beocome fun and leisure for middle class housewives.