Just under six months after Vipin Bhandari took over as the new CEO of HyperCITY, the hypermarket chain has unveiled plans to expand with speed across the country in 2015. The retailer is set to open new stores in Malad, Mumbai, New Delhi, Noida (two outlets), Kolhapur, Pune and Panvel under a new expansion programme.
HyperCITY currently has 15 stores across Mumbai, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Bhopal, Amritsar, Pune, Ahmedabad, Vadodara and Jaipur. Over the past two years, the retailer underwent a significant consolidation and remodelling exercise, and now seems set to take its presence to a new level.
When Vipin Bhandari took over as the chain’s CEO in August 2014, he came in with a robust experience of over a decade with Max Hypermarkets, where he was part of the founding team and climbed his way up to become the organisation’s Chief Operating Officer. A Chartered Accountant by profession, Bhandari has vast retail experience ranging from retail operations, sales, marketing to merchandising. He was instrumental in establishing the Leisure division for Landmark Group in Dubai.
[In the nine-month period from April to December in 2014, the retailer averaged sales per sq ft of Rs15,254, with total sales in calendar year 2014 touching Rs 89,170 lakh through a total of nine lakh transactions.]
"Retail is one of the most dynamic and fast paced industries in India, " Bhandari says, adding that his mission at HyperCITY will be to build on the brand’s strength and shopping experience with value, while entering new and untapped markets for the retail chain.
HyperCITY stores offer some 44,000 distinct products sourced from both local and global markets in an international shopping ambience that rivals the best in the world. More than 20 lakh customers visit HyperCITY stores every month. In the nine-month period from April to December in 2014, the retailer averaged sales per sq ft of Rs15,254, with total sales in calendar year 2014 touching Rs 89,170 lakh through a total of nine lakh transactions.
Apart from a wide variety of quality products, its outlets also offer utilities and conveniences such as ATMs, telecom services, bakery and restaurants under one roof to make the shopping experience richer, convenient and complete.
With over 15 years of experience in large format retailing, which have involved working at different levels in the industry, Bhandari is geared towards applying his learnings from setting up stores to engaging with the customer to the fast-changing dynamics of this sector. "In addition, my degree in Chartered Accountancy has always helped me to keep a close eye on the finance and budgeting," he notes. He does however expect to face challenges in achieving his target to drive HyperCITY’s growth. "The biggest spokes in the wheel are lack of required retail spaces, the unpredictability of consumption behaviour and a serious crunch of trained manpower," he elaborates.That being said, Bhandari is emphatic about the opportunity in the Indian consumer landscape. "High consumer spending over the years by the young population and a sharp rise in disposable incomes are driving the Indian organised retail sector’s growth," he points out. "Even tier I and II cities and towns are witnessing a major shift in consumer preferences and lifestyles, as a result of which, they have emerged as attractive markets for retailers to expand their presence into. Indian retailers must encash this opportunity and focus on tier I and II locations as well."