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Pariwar Supermarket: Taking big strides in a small town

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in (a town in Maharashtra) has joined the modern retail bandwagon by offering a modern shopping environment and doing away with over the-counter system. The store is doing remarkable business despite the location and catchment challenges it faces…

Pariwar Supermarket: Taking big strides in a small town
The supermarket has two branches - one 6000 sq ft and one 8000 sq ft - the SKU count is 8500 and close to 60 per cent of their sales come from their private label

Setting the context for the story and describing the inception and conversion of a traditional store to a supermarket chain, from Pariwar and Company recounts: “Way back in 1949, my grandfather, father (Yousuf Ahmed) and my uncle (Yakub Ahmed) laid the foundation of Pariwar stores. It was one of its kind during those times, stocking a majority of daily essentials. As India got exposed to modern retail in the early years of this century, we decided it was time for us to take the plunge and convert our traditional store into a full-fledged supermarket. We chose the auspicious day of August 15 – India’s Independence Day – to do this and on August 15 ,2002, we converted our store into Pariwar Supermarket. The second store came into being on October 17, 2010.”

The Kacchis had an easy transition in 2002, but the launch of the second store in 2010 ran into challenges. These were not in terms of setting up the supermarket but more to do with the location.

Elaborating on this, Asif says: “The second store is in the shadow area of New Town at Jalna. When we were planning to launch the store, we were met with skepticism and discouragement given the fact that the location was in a secluded area with no residential apartments/ societies around. But then contrary to all the negativity we met with, the store was a huge success from Day One, drawing crowds from the adjoining and remote locations as well.”

Early Challenges

While Asif Kacchi and his cousin brother were confident of a modern supermarket doing well in Jalna, the older lot from the Kacchi family were not too happy toying with this idea. There were fears about shop lifting and pilferage. Taking inspiration from a fellow retailer in neighbouring Jalgaon, which went by the name of Navjeevan Supermarket, the Kacchi brothers were able to convince the elders in the family to venture into the supermarket business.

The other challenge they faced was making their customers accustomed to a modern shopping environment. In the initial days, they would still have their loyal customers come in with their list and assign a staff to fill their shopping bags.

Sabir reminisces, “We used to have some old people and women coming to us and asking if we were running short of staff and if it was the reason for opening the store in a supermarket format. Though over a period of time, as the customers got accustomed to using the trolley, there was no looking back.”

The Rewards

The most visible reward for converting their traditional store into a supermarket was an increase in sales by almost 100 per cent. In its earliest avatar, the store size was 1800 sq.ft.. Though once they decided to convert it into a supermarket, the adjacent godown space and the space on the floor above the store was used up, which added to a total 6,000 sq.ft. of space.

Says Asif: “The second store is close to 8000 sq.ft. and both these stock daily essentials, footwear, plastic, steel, utensils, kitchen wear, crockery, towel, bedsheets etc.”

The investment put in was close to about Rs. 800 per sq.ft., which included the cost of furniture, fixtures, electrification, computer hardware and software as well. Whereas the real estate for the first store is owned by the family, the second store is taken on rent.

According to Asif, the rent is less than one percent of the sales. Stocking all top leading FMCG brands, both the supermarkets have a healthy presence of private label brands as well. The SKU count is close to 8,500. The USP of the store remains selling goods cheaper than the MRP printed on them. Close to 60 per cent of their sales come from their private label products.

Elaborating on the in-house brand, which is called Pariwar, Asif says, “All the products under our private label are sold at a minimum margin and we have private labels across various product categories – grocery, dry fruits, spices, upwas (fasting) items etc.”

Spotting the high demand for their private label brands, very soon
they would be introducing more categories, which include products in cleaning, washing, hair oil, edible cooking, sanitary napkins and diapers.

Marketing & Promotion

Word of mouth publicity remains the best tool for the Kacchi brothers but apart from that, at regular intervals, they distribute hand bills, advertisements in local newspapers and also ongoing announcements at the stores highlighting the offers running.

Besides this, the ongoing promotions include offering goods cheaper by about 2-5 per cent, free gift to customers on purchase exceeding a specific amount, special offers during festival seasons, celebrating August 15 and January 26 in a big way, and the most successful one being running special offers every Wednesday.

The Road Ahead

With two successful supermarkets, the Kacchis plan to open a mini hypermarket on a land that they have recently purchased. Plans for the future also include opening at least one supermarket each year in and around Marathwada.