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Revealed: Top 10 Indian retailers of 2016


A recent survey by Brand Equity has revealed the names of the top 10 retailers of 2016. The list was created on the basis of sales derived, social media presence and media visibility of the brands.

Brand Equity along with the research team at Nielsen has named these retailers as India’s top 10 in the year 2016:


With 200 plus stores present across India, Big Bazaar has a strong appeal for the urban middle-class. Over the last few years, Future retail has been transforming into a connected commerce company with multiple strategies and changes, one of the changes being moving companies – including Big Bazaar- onto digital platforms.

In November 2015, the company introduced Big Bazaar GenNxt stores in Noida and Mumbai. The stores integrate superior shopping experiences with innovations such as interactive digital screens, sit-down checkouts and smart customer service. Ordinary Big Bazaar stores too offer a slew of convenient services including home delivery.

“Soon, the stores will sport smart trial rooms and endless aisles or kiosks wherein the customer can order from a larger range of merchandise, which may not be stocked within the store. Our stores are also turning into fulfillment centers,” Group Chief Executive Officer of Future Group, Kishore Biyani had told investors in the company’s annual report (2015-2016).

Big Bazaar Direct (BBD), the virtual franchisee concept of Future Group-owned Big Bazaar is also betting big on franchising business model. It has set an ambitious target of 50,000 franchisees over the next four years.


Reliance Retail, which operates a chain of convenience stores, supermarkets, wholesale cash-and-carry and specialty stores, is India’s largest retailer by revenues as well as footprint. The company operates Reliance Trends in the apparel segment while it runs Reliance Fresh, Reliance Smart and Reliance Market in the grocery business.

In FY 2015-16, the company has added 624 new stores taking its total stores to 3,245 stores, spread over 12.8 million square feet and it is currently operating 3,383 stores. “Reliance Fresh” has consistently appeared in the list of most trusted national brands.

According to the company, the e-tailing segment is on a high growth curve and Reliance Retail is well prepared to participate in this growing channel.

“The era of ‘Digital India’ is taking shape as the ecosystem around data security, device and bandwidth availability, digitisation of wallets, content availability and continues to improve. This is paving the way for a large number of customers to get a first-hand experience of online shopping. The e-tailing segment is on a high growth curve and Reliance Retail is well prepared to participate in this growing channel,” a company report stated in August 2016.

Fashion Retail: Reliance entered the online fashion retail business in April through AJIO.com, targeting shoppers with high-margin, curated fashion. The company has opened AJIO ‘shop-in-shops’ in more than 100 Reliance Trends stores as part of its Omnichannel strategy, an initiative on which the retailer is working aggressively.

With multi-channel initiatives for grocery and apparel under its belt, Reliance Retail says that it will extend its reach to cover the entire country much beyond the 500 towns where its physical stores are operational. The opportunity of integrating an ‘offline-online’ model would truly differentiate the customer experience.


Lifestyle is a leading fashion retail store in India known for bringing best of national as well as international brands in a lively and vibrant shopping environment at accessible prices.

Part of Dubai based retail to hospitality conglomerate, The Landmark Group, Lifestyle brings multiple concepts including men, women, kid apparel; footwear, handbags, fashion accessories and beauty under the convenience of a single roof in each of its store. Stepping into a Lifestyle store, customer can look forward to seamless and hassle free shopping experience even as they browse through hundreds of leading national and international brands.

In keeping with the tradition of making every shopping experience even more rewarding and memorable, Lifestyle introduced membership privileges called Landmark Rewards, giving consumers exclusive benefits and privileges such as reward points, exclusive previews, personalized offers and more.

Lifestyle houses many renowned brands including Louis Philippe, Vero Moda, Only, Van Heusen, Arrow, Code, US Polo, Allen Solly, Levis, Kappa, Bossini, UCLA, Melange, Juniors, and Catwalk to name a few.


India’s fastest growing big box fashion retailer, Pantaloons Fashion & Retail is a lifestyle apparel retail destination. Constantly innovating designs, concepts and products by infusing the latest trends in fashion and clothing styles, Pantaloons retails over 200 brands which comprise a mix of private labels and licensed brands in apparel and accessories.

The brand, previously controlled by the Future Group, was taken over by Aditya Birla Nuvo Limited for Rs 1,600 crore. In January 2016, the brand changed its name from Pantaloons Fashion & Retail to Aditya Birla Fashion and Retail Ltd (ABFRL).

ABFRL altogether hosts India’s largest fashion network with over 7,000 points of sale across over 375 cities and towns, which include more than 2,000 exclusive ABFRL brand outlets.


55 Spencer’s

Spencer’s started as essentially a supermarket and convenience store retailer. In 2001 it opened its first hypermarket in Hyderabad, which was the first hypermarket in the country. Hypermarket has been an integral part of the DNA of the store and its offerings.

The company has over 80 small stores and hypermarkets, but the focus will be on growing the hypermarket business by adding larger format stores.

Spencer’s will add over 70 hypermarkets over the next five years, predominantly focusing on the Northern, Eastern and Southern parts of India.

Over the last few years, Sector Head, Limited, RP-Sanjiv Goenka Group, Shashwat Goenka has helped rescue the dwindling grocery business. Revenue has increased from Rs 600 per square foot to Rs 1500 per square foot. For margin growth, the company is starting to focus more on higher margin categories of apparel and general merchandise, as well as a push on private label products for select categories. Costs were reduced. The organization was restructured to become flatter, allowing faster decision-making – both at the corporate and at the store.

Non-performing stores and regions were closed, with 51 stores being closed in FY13 itself. Systems, people and processes were put in place to enable quick turnarounds and decisions, and were aligned with the company’s overall goal.

The company’s EBITDA loss reduced from Rs 300 crore a few years ago to Rs 30 crore for the year ended March 2016.

5. Spencer’s

India’s most profitable and fastest growing large modern retailer, supermarkets retail chain D-Mart returned a profit of Rs 211 crore in 2014-15, higher than Reliance Retail’s Rs 159 crore and Future Retail’s Rs 153 crore.

Owned by investor Radhakishan Damani, D-Mart is a pure food and grocery retailer unlike both Reliance Retail and Future Retail, which have multiple formats in categories like digital, home, apparel and footwear besides food and groceries. Damani is counted among India’s 100 richest people, according to the 2015 Forbes listing.

D-Mart’s draw is its promise to sell goods below this price, some by as much as 12 per cent; it sells groceries and has a wide assortment of cheap household items — from school bags to cooking utensils — akin to a Dollar Store.

Unlike most retail firms which are burdened by the high cost of rentals, 90 per cent of D-Mart stores are located in properties owned by the firm.

Most D-Mart stores are in the suburbs in the metros and in tier II and tier III cities which keeps the operational costs low. D-Mart is the first retailer to cross the billion dollar mark profitably.

D-Mart’s business model is similar to international retailers such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc, Swedish furniture retail giant IKEA, Lidl – a German-based discount chain – and even specialty retailers like Zara and Uniqlo.


77 Shopper’s Stop

Ltd (SSL), is an operator of large format department stores, home stores, specialty stores like Crossword, Mothercare, M.A.C, and hypermarkets. It has reported a retail turnover of Rs 845.4 crores for the quarter ended June 30, 2016 as against Rs 775.3 crores in the corresponding period in 2015.

With 81 stores across 37 cities in India, Shoppers Stop continues to grow and expand its retail footprint. By August last year, SSL had added four Shoppers Stop stores at Goa, Noida, Panvel and Pune, two HyperCITY stores in Panvel and Noida, two M.A.C stores at Noida and Mumbai International Airport and one Clinique store at Mumbai International Airport.

The fashion retailer – which has also launched a mobile app for online shopping – is looking at doubling its app downloads to 2 million and getting up to 15 per cent sales through its digital touch points by 2020.

The company also plans to increase the sales of its private brands including Fratini Woman, Haute Curry, Elliza Donatein, Life, Rocky Star and Desigual, among others from current 12 per cent to 25 per cent in three years.

The brand currently operates 77 department stores across 36 cities.

Over the last year, the company launched several Omnichannel and digital initiatives to shore up its customer experience. The agenda is to become a truly Omnichannel retailer.

7. Shopper’s Stop

Incepted in 2005, Godrej Nature’s Basket is now at a very interesting inflection point and is committed to redefining India’s freshest and finest food experience.

Godrej Nature’s Basket (GNB) has announced that it will undergo a strategic transformation to grow its revenues by three times, to reach Rs 1000 crore by 2020.

Calling it ‘GNB Refresh 2020’, the strategy outlines a clear roadmap for the business to become country’s “freshest and finest premium neighbourhood store,” company’s Managing Director, Avani Davda revealed.

GNB’s transformation journey entails consolidation and sustainable profitable growth that will materialise over the next three to five years, with a robust and thoughtful Omnichannel expansion in the medium term.

It expects to achieve this through a strong focus on sourcing the “freshest and finest food”, penetrating deeper in the South and West and nurturing its own brands.

GNB is also looking to overhaul its store format, for both existing and new store to achieve its target. The refreshed store design will be unveiled by early FY 18.

The company has in-house brands including Healthy Alternatives, Desi Nature, L’Exclusif, and is set to launch a new brand Nature’s Kitchen which will offer ready-to-eat foods curated by top chefs, using freshest ingredients .

About 10 per cent of the company’s revenues come from online sales, and by 2020, this will touch about 15 per cent.


99 More (ABRL)

Ltd (ABRL), an Aditya Brila Group subsidiary, stepped into retail arena with the acquisition of southern retail chain Trinethra in 2006 and then with the launch of the ‘More’ retail chain – its own brand for its supermarket business.

The company opened its first large format store in Vadodara in 2008 and thereafter, kept on adding new stores in new cities. Having grown remarkably since inception, the chain today has become a major player with pan India presence.

ABRL has also achieved the distinction of being one of the three leading value retail players in India.

With current 505 stores across 60 plus Indian cities, ABRL is going strong.

It deals in the best of merchandise from renowned Indian and international brands. To ensure quality of farm fresh products offered at its stores, the company has forged direct linkages with growers for daily supplies.

Of late, the company has as well been putting a lot of energy in developing private labels. As of now, ABRL’s own private brand portfolio offers products in categories as in food, home & personal care, apparel and footwear.

Over the past two years, Aditya Birla Retail has undertaken several major initiatives such as enhanced range, localization of products, high on-shelf availability and better customer experience at its stores.

9. More (ABRL)


Croma entered the modern retail market with sourcing and a backend tie-up with Australian retailer, Woolworths. Subsequently, Croma bought the India wholesale arm of Woolworths. This partnership gave Croma a strong footing in sourcing, offering a wide variety of products and price advantage vis-à-vis others, and also helped them in private label development.

Croma launched its first store in October 2006 at Mumbai, which is spread across 20,000 sq.ft and has more than 6,000 products on display.

Presently, the brand has 96 stores across the India; among these eight are zip stores.

CMO, Infiniti Retail, Ritesh Ghosal says, “Depending on the category, modern retail stands somewhere between 10-20 per cent. Another 10 per cent would be for e-commerce Croma would share the 1/5 of the organised market. Although, there are many important markets where Croma is not present as of now.”

Currently, Croma retails over 6,000 products in four lead categories namely, mobile phones, laptops, home and entertainment (including television and sound) and home appliances. Over 200 world class brands offering more than 3,000 gadgets are on display and continuously updated to meet trending business and lifestyle requirements. The brand is continuously looking to upgrade its existing categories instead of introducing the new ones.

Croma is the destination for CDIT (Consumer Durables and IT) buying in the country. Its zip stores are around 1,000-2,000 sq.ft. in size, and full format stores are usually spread across 8,000 sq.ft.

Croma, which is in its tenth year of business, follows the Omnichannel system and has integrated its offline brick-and-mortar stores with its online e-commerce portal.

With over 85 per cent of Croma shoppers being Omnichannel customers, it is only obvious that the company launches campaigns across all media with digital playing a key role in the media mix.

(With inputs from Bhavika Vallecha for Indiaretailing Bureau)