3 days of Maha Savings on something Vs. 365 days of savings on everything

subhiksha_logoThis had to happen one day. And, well this has happened, sooner than expected. Retail sector like its FMCG counterpart, has begun witnessing media wars, albeit on a smaller scale.

We have earlier reported about the 3 day “Maha Savings” offer in which all 43 Big Bazaar format of hypermarket stores, owned by Pantaloon Retail, across the country, in an annual exercise, have offered extra discounts to its customers, particularly on aparrel and home appliances, between 26th and 28th January, 2007.

While, Big Bazaar’s offer is widely advertised and a lot of ‘word of mouth’ publicity has also been associated with the event, Subhiksha, the Chennai-based, discount retail chain, with over 500 convenience format stores in different parts of the country, has counterd this Big Bazaar offer in a directly hitting ad-campaign with a tagline “3 days of savings on something versus 365 days of savings on everything.”

The emphasis here is clearly on 3 days versus 365 days and something versus every thing. It may be recalled that Subhiksha besides offering 10% discount on all the FMCG products, including Medicines, also offers a widely publicised ‘every day low price’ scheme. The campaign apart from being published in the print media is currently being beamed across TV channels including the matches during the ongoing one day cricket series between India and West Indies.

This appears to be just the beginning of what could be the most exciting retail media wars between the warring retailing rivals.

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Ambani turf wars may extend to retail

mukesh_anil_ambani.jpgOrganised retail, if buzz in the pink media is to be believed, may be gearing itself up to witness a bitter fights between Ambani siblings.

After signing of the partnership agreement between Wal-Mart, the US-based, biggest retailerof the world and India’s biggest private telecom player Bharti, it seems that that Anil Ambani, the younger sibling of Mukesh Ambani, may be preparing himself for a bloody fight in the unchartered territory of organised retail.

It is no secret that the retail sector is getting hotter by the day, especially after the October, 2006, announcement of the aforesaid Bharti- Wal-Mart, tie-up.

Earlier, according to knowledgeable circles, Anil Ambani was working on a plan to enter the business of retailing pharmaceutical products by leveraging on the pan-India network of chemists and druggists, who are members of the All India Chemists Association. However, not only that plan was shelved, but in the meanwhile Anil Ambani got occupied with the much bigger ambition of becoming the country’s biggest telecom player by acquiring Hutch, the second biggest GSM mobile player, owned by Hong Kong based Hutchison Whampa.

However, when a number of parties have jumped into the arena to acquire Hutch, Anil Ambani seems to be working on the possibility of garnering a much bigger share of the retail pie by seeking to join hands with Carrefour, the France based, world’s second biggest retailer. The size and ambitions of this tie-up could be as big or even bigger as that of his elder brother Mukesh Ambani owned Reliance Retail.

While, the non-compete agreement between the two brothers, it may be noted, does not preclude either of them from taking up the retail business, Carrefour is scouting for partners for its India foray after ealier having called off negotiations with the Dubai-based Landmark group for setting up over 200 hypermarket and other store formats in the country. The UK-based Tesco, the world’s third biggest retailer, after failed negotiations with Bhartis, is said to be currently in talks with Tatas.

We had earlier talked about Munjals (Hero Honda group)  turning out to be a dark horse in the race for a tie-up with Carrefour, however, it now appears that apart from Anil Ambani, Carrefour may also be exploring possibilities of a tie-up with FMCG major Godrej and Bombay Dyeing owner Nusli Wadia.

Big Bazaars gearing up for 3 days of “Maha Savings Offer”

Do you recall the Republic Day, last year, when Police had to rushed in to restore order following a stampede caused by a large number of customers who had come to take advantage of the “Maha Savings” Offer. Big Bazaar is the hypermarket retail format of the Kishore Biyani owned India’s biggest retailer Pantaloon. In Mumbai, even medical help had to be sought for customers who waiting, since early morning, for their turn to buy the goods, were exhausted.

Republic Day is the day when the company makes its “Maha Savings” offer in all its “Big Bazaar” stores across the country. The offer, in view of the unmanageable rush last year, was extended for a period of three days between 26th and 28th January. The offer branded as ‘Sabse Saste Teen Din’ puts on offer merchandise across categories at at extremely economical rates. These concessions are made possible with the active support of several apparel, appliances and other manufacturers.

24 Big Bazaar outlets, last year, sold merchandise worth Rs. 43 crore during the three day periods. This year, there 43 Big Bazaars together with Food Bazaars across the country will be making this offer. While, it is not possible to estimate the business this year, company officials, expect to attract at least one million customers during the period.

In light of the previous experience, company officials are not taking any chances and are making adequate arrangements for extra cash counters as well as are providing extra space for easier movement of the customers visiting the stores.

News Source: Hindu Business Line

The business of Brands

superbrands

What are the basic ingredients that make a brand tick and help it become a Superbrand?

Well, a combination of elements are responsible for making a Brand, what it is. Following is a list of important elements.

  • The Name: The name by which a Company or its products are known.
  • The Logo: The symbol which represents a Brand.
  • The Company: The corporate entity of a Brand
  • The Image: What a Brand has come to represent.
  • The Customers: Those whom a Brand serves.
  • The Product and Services: What a Brand offers in a market place.
  • The Promise: What a Brand stands for- its vision, mission, goals, and objectives.

— Based on the information provided in the 2006 Annual Report of PNC Limited, Mumbai.

Titan to retail prescription eyewear

Titan_logoTitan, the biggest Indian watch and jewellery retailer, which also sells “Fastrack” range of sunglasses and frames has decided to enter the prescription eyewear retail market.

Mr. Bhaskar Bhat, Managing Director, Titan Industries, disclosed this while talking on the sidelines of a seminar on advertising organised by the Advertising Club Madras, in Chennai.

Initial introduction of the prescription eyewear products will be done from 3rd March, 2007 on a pilot basis in a few of the company’s “World of Titan” stores, he added. Glasses, frames and lenses for a new yet to be named brand will be made by Titan on its own without seeking help of any outside partner.

The company has notified the stock exchanges of its proposal to start the new business.

Carrefour seeking Indian partner?

carrefour_logoJose Luis Duran, Chairman and CEO, Carrefour, the France-based, US$ 177 billion, second biggest retailer of the world, is currently on a visit to India. He is meeting high ranking government officials including Kamal Nath, the Union Minister of Commerce & Industries and senior secretaries, to understand the government’s present policy framework and future roadmap on retail.

Carrefour Chairman during his visit is also likely to gain a hands-on understanding of the growing retail business in India by meeting local business leaders. Carrefour (pronounced: Cahr-uh-foor, meaning ‘cross roads’ in French), like the world’s biggest Wal-Mart, which recently tied-up with telecom giant Bharti, will have to seek an Indian partner for its India foray for front end operations as it is a multi brand retailer and present Indian policy framework on retail does not allow majority FDI stake in such format. Present policy guidelines, it may be noted,  allow FDI of up to 100% in wholesale format (cash and carry) and up to 51% in single brand retail format.

Speculations are, therefore, rife that during this visit, he would explore possibilities of doing business jointly with major business leaders including Kumar Mangalam Birla, Chairman of the A V Birla group. To put records straight, it should, however, be said that Mr. Kumar Mangalam Birla, in several media interviews earlier, has clarified that his group would like to go it alone without seeking any foreign partners. It may be recalled that the AVB group, early this month, had unveiled its plans to foray into the retail business and as a first step had announced acquisition of  Hyderabad-based, food and grocery supermarket retail chain, ‘Trinethra’ and ‘Fabmall’ – which has over 172 retail stores spread across southern parts of the country.

Mukesh Ambani owned Reliance Retail, which is another major business group that is foraying into retail has also decided to go it alone and not seek any foreign partners. Reliance, which has started rolling out its food and horticulture retail stores in convenience and cash & carry wholesale formats, in Hyderabad and Jaipur, as a part of its Rs. 25,000 crore, multi format, multi verticles, pan India retail initiative, like Birlas has also recently acquired Ahmedabad-based, food and grocery retail chain ‘Adani Supermarket,’ which has 54 stores spread across Gujarat.

This leaves Tatas, among other major business houses, to tie-up with Carrefour. Tata group has two companies, Trent (Westside, Landmark and Star Bazaar) and Tata Infiniti (Croma) operating in the retail business. Tatas, however, are thought to be in advance stage of negotiations with the UK-based, world’s third biggest retailer- Tesco.

ITC, another big business house, as reported earlier, is also betting big on retail. However, ITC is mainly focussed on agri products as its long standing linkages with farmers are not limited to retailing alone.

Among other major early entrants in the field, Kishore Biyani owned Pantaloon and Raheja owned Shoppers’ Stop are already having a number of brand, product, or format specific tie-ups with foreign retailers of all shapes and sizes.

The dark horse, which could match Carrefour’s India ambitions, may well be the Munjal (Hero Honda) Group, which despite having announced its retail ambitions, has yet to unveil its retail plans. Munjals have a large network spread across the country as it has been a major player in the two wheelers market -both manual and motorised, for several decades. The group, which is the world’s biggest bicycle and the second biggest mobike manufacturer as good understanding the Indian consumer, both urban and rural.

It may be recalled that as reported earlier,Carrefour was earlier in talks with Landmark, the Dubai based retail group, to form a joint venture for its retail foray into India. However, these talks with Landmark, which already has a presence in the Indian market through it Lifestyle and Max retail chains, were recently called off with mutual consent.

Foreign retail chains wooing Subhiksha?

Whether it is scorching pace of growth, expansion in clusters, or talk of takeover, Subhiksha always remains in the news! This time, it is about foreign retailers wooing this Chennai-based, decade old, retail chain, with 500 plus stores across the country, for a possible pan-India tie-up.

subhiksha_logo

All big retailers, who enjoy the advantage of having moved into organised retail in early days, are prime takeover or partnership candidates. Trinethra and Adani supermarket chains, it may be recalled, were recently bought over by Birlas and Ambanis from their respective owners.

If an Economic Times story based on market gossip (22nd January, 2007), is to be believed, R Subramanian promoted, Subhiksha, is being hotly pursued by foreign retail chains with partnership proposals. According to the story, existing chains are not content with investments alone from their suitors, but they also want a fair share of the cake by demanding an equal partnership in the business particularly when the way has been paved by none other than the world’s biggest Wal-Mart.

Government policies also favour this as the policy makers, despite strident protests from the left, have found nothing wrong with the recently concluded Bharti’s alliance with Wal-Mart.

Foreign retail chains may also not be unwilling to share a part of control and profits with home grown retailers, who beside bringing low cost infrastructure on the table, offer much needed understanding of the local geography and customer in a market which is not only multi-ethnic and multi-lingual, but also continent like in size.

No wonder, even Wal-Mart, despite its financial and technological might, had to recently wthdraw from South Korea and Germany.