Bareilly-based retailer, Marya Day is not just another new arrival on the Indian food and grocery retail landscape. It is promoted by Marya Day Agro Foods, a leading producer, distributor and exporter of food, personal care and homecare products, with notable domestic and overseas presence. The chain has made its debut in June 2016, and opened four stores in Aligarh and Bareilly in quick succession. Stocking only its own brand, Marya Day is looking to have 100 stores by the end of next year.
Established in 2007 in Bareilly (Uttar Pradesh), Marya Frozen Agro Foods Pvt. Ltd. (MFAF) is a leading Government-recognised export house specialising in processing, supplying, wholesaling retailing and exporting of frozen halal meat and other meat products. Its distribution network spans pan-India besides having an international footprint across the Middle East, Africa and European nations.
The company forayed into the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) sector in 2015 by setting up its subsidiary, Marya Day Agro Foods Pvt. Ltd. (MDAF). In a short span of operations, MDAF has gained high reputation as a producer and exporter of a quality range of food, personal care and homecare products.
Manufactured under the umbrella brand, ‘Marya Day’, it churns out almost 2,000 products from its own avant-garde production facilities located in Bareilly and Noida. Distributed in 19 states across India, these products have also made their mark in the overseas markets.
Director, Marya Day Agro Foods Pvt. Ltd, Dr. Talha Chishti states, “We are inspired by the fact that being a developing country like India, all the citizens of our country have a right to consume pure products. So we were struck by the idea of making products which are pure, hygienic and un-adulterated.
Hence, Marya Day Agro Foods was conceptualised. Marya Day as a brand is well-renowned in the international market for its varied range of products in the frozen food segment.” During the financial year 2015-16, MDAF clocked a turnover of about Rs. 1,500 crore. Noticeably, food category represents the bulk share of its total revenues.
Stepping into Retail
To capitalise on its success in FMCG manufacturing and exports, MDAF decided to enter the retail business as the next logical step. The idea finally culminated into ‘Marya Day’, its retail store chain, which has been launched recently.
“Our first store was launched in Aligarh on June 4th, 2016. The second store was rolled out in Bareilly a day later on June 5th. Two other stores were opened on the same day in Bareilly. We are primarily targeting different cities of Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand. However, we will not limit ourselves to just these two states and will extend our presence in other business friendly states as well,” Chishti says.
All four stores vary in size and together they account for approximately 15,000 square feet of area. Importantly, the stores will stock the company’s own brand products only.
Says Chishti, “We will not keep other brand products in our company-owned outlets. We expect to cater to the Indian market through our own brand.”
The strategy: ‘Test & Thrive’
From among various modern retail formats such as multi-brand outlet (MBO), exclusive brand outlet (EBO) and shop-in-shop (SIS), Marya Day finds EBO the most suitable to its retail strategy. The format would ensure a greater control over product assortment, pricing, margins, etc., and above all will help the brand deliver its promise – ‘quality products with best prices’.
“We have analysed the market dynamics and will penetrate the traditional markets using orthodox methods to engage the end consumer. We are focusing on becoming the biggest single brand exclusive outlet for native products,” says Chishti.
Referring to the product SKUs on shelves at Marya Day stores, he clarifies that they want to test the markets first and then launch the SKUs accordingly to cater the live demands of the people. “However, in order to test the markets, we have used the commonly used SKUs such as dal (pulses), cooking oil, tea/coffee, snacks, bathing soap, dishwasher soap and phenyl and some other products,” he adds.
He further says that the store design and ambience has been kept simple and uncomplicated: “We believe in minimalistic designs and so the maximum space has been dedicated to get a simple layout for the stores.”
Talking about the store staff training, he shares that the company is fairly-focused on training its employees at every level – be it at the corporate level or at store level. They are also working towards strengthening their employee training programme by taking suggestions from technicians and experts from various consultant companies.
Operational Nitty Gritties
MDAF operations comprise three different verticals: general distribution, HoReCa and institutional supplies and now own retail stores, and therefore, the company has put together a robust supply chain and logistics mechanism for all the three verticals. As regards the back-end, Chishti notifies that the company has implemented the supply chain solutions best suited to its retail model as of now and is focusing its energy into strengthening the core processes.
“We do not believe in needlessly augmenting the processes and then streamlining them later. We also have a strategic alliance with marketing agencies to look after the retailing processes. It’s a 3rd party service, but we make sure that proper check and balances are maintained during the processes,” he says.
Like any modern retail business, Marya Day is also leveraging the technology to enhance its operational efficiency. For instance, an ERP system has been implemented to take care of inventory management.
The company’s marketing and promotion strategy involves everything, from above-the-line (ATL) and below-the-line (BTL) to digital and social. “We are focusing equally on all of them and doing 360 degree marketing to reach out to our target customers,” shares Chishti.
The brand has roped in Bollywood actor Neil Nitin Mukesh as its brand ambassador for its premium blended tea, green tea and coffee. As far as the BTL activities are concerned, the brand participates in various trade exhibitions to showcase its products to further expand its B2B network in India and abroad.
As per Chishti, “We have actively taken part in events like Mumbai food festival, Thailand food festival and Kumbh Mela in Haridwar and are looking forward to many more in the coming year. For customer engagement, in addition to various other initiatives, the company as well has plans to start a loyalty program in the near future.”
FMCG retail is a challenging sector and is fiercely competitive. Chishti acknowledges and elaborates on their strategy to endure the competition and flourish.
“As far as modern and traditional players are concerned, we have a planned strategy to compete with them. Our high quality standards give us a certain edge in traditional market. Also, our state-of-the-art mother warehouse will ensure the quality standards. Moreover, as our primary focus is pure quality products, therefore, profit maximisation is obviously overruled that will also increase the overall customer satisfaction. For our modern retail division, our advantage is that unlike many other modern players, we have our own in-house products. Since, we do not stock any other brands but our own in our outlets; the customers will not get confused. Th is will also help us generate a strong brand recall among the target audience and maintain the standards.”
What Lies Ahead?
With plans to shore up its international distribution, Marya Day Agro Foods is as well looking to deepen its Indian distribution network in the times to come. Th e company is targeting a turnover of Rs. 100 crore by the end of 2017 from the home market.
Regarding Marya Day store expansion strategy, Chishti says, “We are looking forward to expand our retail presence in different parts India. We plan to open 100 stores by the end of next year.”
Apart from own exclusive outlets, the company is also mulling to showcase its range of products in modern retail chains like Future Group-owned Big Bazaar and others.
On going the e-commerce way, he remarks, “Yes, we would like to explore the e-commerce route, but the plan is not so immediate! As of now, we are working on strengthening our supply chain and widening our customer base.”