Subhiksha – the chennai based, no frills, discount retail chain, which recently hit the 500-stores mark, has catapulted itself into one of the country’s largest supermarket chains, with over one million sq. ft. of retail space, spread across five states of the country.
Speaking on the occasion, R Subramanian, MD, Subhiksha said, “With Maharasthra we will complete our 600-store target, and we will shortly activate Phase 2 of our expansion plans foraying into 5 more states including Chandigarh, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and West Bengal. We hope to hit the 1000-store mark during 2007.”
“Our goal of becoming India’s favorite neighborhood store is now well on its way. We want to be able to provide customers from all segments of society, in all parts of the country, with a viable smart shopping option,” added Subramanian.
Unlike Big Bazaar, its discount, food and grocery, retail counterparts, Subhiksha believes in setting up non-air conditioned small neighbourhood stores (near the community) measuring around 2,000 sq.ft. in retail space. As such, while Subhiksha competes with big store chains on regular discounts, it competes with traditional ‘father and son’ kirana stores on close proximity to its customers.
Subhiksha operates in four verticals — fruits and vegetables, pharmaceuticals, FMCG and telecom. Beside loyalty discounts and regular discounts of 10% on medicines and 8 to 10% on FMCCG products. The retail chain also makes the Every Day Low Price (EDLP) offer to its customers, which is sustained through discounts obtained by the chain from direct supply arrangements with manufacturers, along with bulk purchase and cash transactions.
While the discount model of Subhiksha is based on world famous Wal-Mart strategy, the carpet bombing model is based on the ‘Starbucks’ strategy, in which the coffee retail chain opens a cluster of stores in close proximity to each other, in a geographical area which has high population density with purchasing potential. This enables the chain to cannibilise sales within its own network rather than allowing them to go to other individual stores or retail chains. Even, Reliance, so far seems to have followed a similar strategy having opened a Cluster of ‘Fresh’ stores in Hyderabad and Jaipur.
While, the decade old, Rs. 340 crore in turnover, Subhiksha retail chain, has invested about Rs. 300 crore on its first phase of expansion, the total outlay for 1,000 stores will be around Rs. 500 crore. It may be recalled that ICICI Venture Capital holds 24% of the equity in the company. The company is mulling over making Initial Public Offering (IPO) in the second half of 2007.