They may have raised their voice against corporate retailers, but are apparently not against the way they run business.
The ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF) government in Kerala is keen on transforming the state-owned retail enterprises into more organised and professional set-ups. To begin with, Kerala State Civil Supplies Corporation, popularly known as Supplyco (essential commodities chain), is readying itself for a complete makeover to draw in customers from the corporate daddies and retain the existing customers.
“I assure that Supplyco will soon be armed to beat any threat from retailers. The government will do everything possible to sell the best-quality product at an affordable price,” C Divakaran, state food and civil supplies minister, told Indiaretailing.
The government plans to have 3,500 Supplyco outlets operational across the state in this fiscal, up from the current 2,800. It is also planning revenue to the tune of Rs 2,000 crore in this fiscal – against the Rs 1,500 crore during the last financial year.
On e-retailing, Supplyco will soon be introducing Internet-based non-store retailing parallel to in-store retailing, with an e-portal developed by Keltron. The portal will have more than 3,000 products in different categories. The concept will be introduced in three cities initially, and will later be extended to select towns.
“Supplyco is also in the process of opening hypermarkets in Kochi, Thiruvananthapuram and Kottayam. The Kochi project will be operational by the year-end. The investment is about Rs 50 crore per store,” the minister added.
Asked about the retail commodities in hypermarkets, he informed: “Initially, we plan to retail electronic items and essential commodities (FMCG and food products). At a later stage, we may even sell garments – both branded and non-branded.” The government expects a sales transaction of Rs 1 crore per day from these outlets.
Apart from this, the corporation has started elaborate refresher training for employees as part of modernisation in human resources. Plans are also on the anvil to start a retailing academy in Kochi, scheduled to be launched next month.
It is also learnt that the company plans to set up a replenishment programme, adopted by major retailers for shelf-space management. The objective is to add more shelf space to encourage impulsive buying.
“We will get everything organised like any corporate retailer. My priority is to make my team fit enough to beat any competition from local, national, or international retailer,” the minister concluded.
As stated, the aim is to achieve a business of Rs 5,000 crore by the end of 2010.
– Vishnu Rageev R, Bangalore Bureau