Jumbo Saver Value in Elephantine Proportions

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Developed under the Jubilant banner, Bangalore’s Jumbo Saver is an entirely innovative retail concept that belies any easy categorisation at the moment. Perhaps for the first time in the country, a retailer has taken up a clear 50 per cent of the 2,80,000 sq.ft mall space from the developer. Not only has Jumbo Saver opened a hypermarket across one entire floor of the mall, but it has also brought in brands/retailers of its own into the mall and has made provisions for its own parking space too. And this entire exercise has been driven by the core concept of value retailing.

Barely a month into functioning, the Jubilant Group feels that its Jumbo Saver format is performing as per expectations, barring a few expected hitches. Jumbo Saver has been operational since November 2006, and it already attracts some 12,000-odd footfalls on an average weekday and around 35,000 footfalls on weekends. This footfall is entirely on account of Jumbo Saver as the remaining 50 per cent of its home – Bangalore ‘s Gopalan Mall, including its multiplex anchor – is not yet operational.

Value retailing is the underlying proposition that runs through this fresh concept, both in terms of the functioning of the format as well as its end offering, lending it cohesion and character. Related issues such as the location of the mall and its catchment, as also the choice of brands/retailers at Jumbo Saver have been dictated by this core concept of ‘value’. In fact, independent brands (such as Adidas, Benetton, Moustache, Weekender Kids, Upper Crest etc.) have opened their factory outlet formats here along with Madura Garments’ discount format Brands and Bargains. At the same place we also have pure retailers like Health & Glow, Favorite Shop, Whizz, Music World etc. who operate as value retailers here.

“Our positioning is very honest in terms of the range, the pricing and the service we offer. At Jumbo Saver we’re trying to establish a critical retail mass for shoppers looking for value, both in terms of the brands as well as the general merchandising,” says Dinesh Malpani, CCA, Head – Buying & Merchandising and CEO, Food Express Stores, a division of the Jubilant Group.

We’re Talking Basics Here

The hypermarket is the Jubilant Group’s second retail venture after their supermarket chain, Monday 2 Sunday.

Jumbo Saver is present within the 2,80,000 sq.ft Gopalan Mall on Mysore Road , Bangalore . Though the mall is yet to be formally launched, the 1,40,000 sq.ft Jumbo Saver is already operational. It is spread across the ground and first floors of the mall, which has been constructed across four floors and a basement area. The third floor is being planned for housing a food court, while talks are on with Adlabs as the entertainment anchor of the property.

The 70,000 sq.ft Jumbo Saver hypermarket hogs the entire first floor, while the various value formats of brands and retailers are present on the ground floor, including the company’s own retail outlets such as a furniture store with merchandise (sourced from China ) offered at unbelievably low prices. The only eating outlet at the moment is the regional QSR, Swamy’s, on the ground floor. There are fresh bakery and cooked meat products available within the hypermarket upstairs, but more about them later.

The outlets on the ground floor have been arranged in such a manner that factory outlets and value formats alternate with each other. Discounts available range from five to 60 per cent. Moreover, a shopper walking in gets a distinct feel of having walked into a differentiated environment. One hardly misses the slew of usual brands and retailers present in almost every other mall in the country at present.

An army of some 800 personnel man Jumbo Saver in three shifts. Currently this value retailing outlet is open seven days a week, from seven in the morning to 10 at night. The company is working towards a 24-hour format eventually. Jumbo Saver’s parking space in the basement can accommodate about 400 four-wheelers and 800 two-wheelers.

Jumbo Saver has hit the jackpot in its choice of location, too. Bangalore ‘s Mysore Road is perhaps the most densely populated area of the city, with residential areas of the trading communities lining either side of this very busy stretch. The area sorely needed an organised retail format for a very long time now, which is why the launch of such a large scale, innovative format with such focussed offerings and positioning is all the more welcome.

Jumbo Saver’s catchment includes Rajarajeswari Nagar (a fast developing residential area with a huge potential customer base), Banashankari, Rajajinagar, Jayanagar and Vijayanagar apart from Mysore Road itself. This stretch, in fact, is being re-fashioned along the lines of a four-lane expressway between Bangalore and Mysore . A new flyover and a new feeder road are also under construction. This will make commuting between the area and the main city much better.

The Hypermarket

What sets Jumbo Saver apart from most other hypermarkets operating in India at the moment is their tight control over the back-end. They manage to give shoppers potatoes and onions at Rs.9.90/kg (the going market rate being nearly Rs.15-20/kg for potatoes in urban centres) or FMCG products at a cut below the MRP while ensuring that the same is fresh and quality product or merchandise. This competitive pricing is mainly due to their well-streamlined sourcing and products brought in from their own fisheries, hatcheries and local fields.

Says Malpani, “It takes us less than 24 hours to bring fresh produce from the fields to our shelves. For the most part fruits and vegetables cut from the farms early in the morning are put on our shelves that very day. The same goes for seafood, meat and poultry, which come from our own fisheries and hatcheries. The freshest product at the very best price is what we offer our shoppers.”
What used to be run on a smaller scale for their Monday 2 Sunday supermarkets, has simply taken on a much larger scale at their first hypermarket. Offering over 2,00,000 SKUs to the buyer is after all, no mean feat. Apart from Jumbo Saver’s own branded products, other brands are also available, but always at a competitive price.

Innovative features at the hypermarket include a bakery area where all products are baked right there on spot. Built on the lines of the innumerable bakeries operating in this part of the country, the fresh bakery section brings a whiff of the neighbourhood into this organised retail format. The same goes for the meat and fish area. Apart from the freshness of the products on offer, shoppers can also buy meat roasted right there for them. Considering the catchment demographics, halal meat is also on offer.

Going by customer reactions, the various factory outlets have been the greatest hit with Jumbo shoppers; followed by the fresh meat offerings, fruits and vegetables, apparel and seafood – strictly in that order.

Paying Attention to Detail

Jumbo Saver does not have retail professionals from Carrefour and Panda on the team for nothing. That a lot of research has gone into the development of the value format shows in various little details. The very first point that will attract the attention of any harried bulk household grocery shopper is the presence of a travelator instead of the usual escalators leading down from the hypermarket right into the parking area. No more waiting for empty elevators to squeeze your shopping cart and manoeuvring it through people mazes to get to your car or outside the mall anymore. Shopping carts with attached perambulators for parent/guardian shoppers is another great idea.

Another thing they wouldn’t let you miss at Jumbo Saver are the signages! They’re all over the place, very neat and organised, boldly screaming out the menswear or the durables sections. You can hardly miss them, which is a very good idea actually. The hypermarket has 22 cash counters, including express counters. But what’s amazing is that Jumbo Saver has actually trained a team of skaters for the cash counter area over three to four months. These ‘runners’ as they are called rush out to get last-minute shopping items for shoppers already at the check-out points. About four to five runners operate at each of the three shifts. Barely a month-old, the value retailer is slowly settling down with its fresh retail concept and all that comes as part of the package of running such a huge business. Staff retention is a problem at the moment, says the management.

Future Plans

The 1,40,000 sq.ft Jumbo Saver hypermarket and value retailing format is the group’s first and smallest among their plans for a retail chain. This is to be followed by seven to eight much larger outlets over the next year. The group plans to open their next hypermarket by March 2007 in Bangalore . Plans are on for setting up the second Jumbo Saver in a high traffic area of Bangalore , probably around the Koramangala area.

Kudos to the group for thinking out-of-the-box and fashioning an original concept in taking up huge space within a mall and filling it up around a core concept of “value-retailing”. We believe this is just the beginning of many more such innovations in the retail sector to hit the country very soon.

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