Hyderabad is fast emerging out to be the mother of all retailing battlegrounds, particularly in the field of farm products. And, the winner, of course, is the customer.
With the recent entries of ITC’s Chaupal ‘Fresh,’ discount chain Subhiksa and the inaugural launch of Reliance Retail’s Reliance Fresh, Hyderabad is buzzing with retailing activity. Hyderabad, it may be recalled, already boasts of food biggies like Spencer’s (RPG group), FoodWorld (Dairy Farm) and FoodBazar (Pantaloon Retail).
ITC, the emerging FMCG giant, has also opened a 2,500 square feet store ‘Chaupal Fresh,’ positioned around the theme of hygiene freshness and economy. This store, which will cater to the needs of both retail and wholesale, has a 7,500 sq. ft. ware house attached to it. ITC has chalked out plans to open 140 ‘Chaupal Fresh’ stores spread across 54 cities at an investment of Rs. 800 crore. While ITC has engaged Snowman to handle logistics, it has assigned the job of designing climate controlled shelves to Ingersoll Rand.
The Choupal Fresh stores will open as early as 5 am for wholesale business and would, during the day, focus on retail. The warehousing and cold chain infrastructure would support supplies to various points in the cities and also check wastage of the perishables.
The Rs. 11,074 crore tobacco and hospitality giant is credited with pioneering the concept of modern retail for rural masses through its ‘Chaupal Sagar’ initiative. The first Chaupal Sagar was opened in 2004 in Sehore, a small town, near Bopal in Madhya Pradesh. Currently, there are 10 Chaupal Sagars operating in the country.
While, the number of Reliance ‘Fresh’ outlets, in less than six weeks, has quietly increased to 16, Subhiksha, the country’s biggest discount stores chain, has opened 28 store outlets, as a part of its carpet bombing strategy.
And in this battle of the titans, the ubiquotous sabziwala has also not been left behind. He now draws his supplies from ‘Metro Cash & Carry,’ which as reported earlier, has recently launched its wholesale outlet here. This outlet supplies fresh farm produce and other grocery items at competitive rates to small traders and small customers, thereby, passing on the benefits of supply chain efficiencies to small traders.