LOTS Wholesale Solutions recently unveiled its second Cash & Carry wholesale distribution centre in India at Akshardham in East Delhi. The launch of LOTS’ second store follows closely on the heels of its first store three months ago. Inaugurated by Amitabh Kant, CEO, NITI Aayog, this is second of the fifteen distribution centres that the firm is aiming to open in India over the next three years.
The newly launched store will cater to over 45,000 registered business customers, which include hotels, restaurants, and caterers (HoReCa), kirana stores, corporates, MSMEs and institutions such as government agencies, educational institutes, and hospitals.
Spread over an area of more than 53,000 sq. ft., the newly opened store has all the facilities including automatic system orders forre-stocking, predicting the demand as per customer’s behaviour, and designated goods receiving and dispatching, live bakery, among many more. Other notable features are transparent pricing, round-the-year promotions, consistent product availability, customized last mile delivery and credit facilities, all of which are tailored to satisfy the needs of its registered members.
“We had promised to open two wholesale distribution centres in India in 2018. Today, that promise has been fulfilled. From our first store, we have exceeded the expectations we had set for ourselves. We have been getting very good response and we are getting 600-1500 walk-in customers daily. We decided to open our second store in Akshardham in view of the unfulfilled potential of the area in terms of wholesale buying options. The facility is all set to cater to the requirements of our members in east Delhi and nearby catchment areas. Through this store, the business customers of LOTS Wholesale Solutions will have a wide range of more than 5,000 food and no-food products to select from. Besides, they will also benefit from customized delivery solutions, competitive pricing and personalized service through our business development associates,” Tanit Chearavanont, Managing Director, LOTS Wholesale Solutions, said commenting on the launch of the new store. With its expanding footprint in Delhi-NCR, LOTS Wholesale Solutions will generate 5,000 direct and indirect jobs over the next five years.
The launch ceremony was presided over by the chief guest Amitabh Kant, CEO, NITI Aayog. Also present at the launch ceremony was Chutintorn Gongsakdi, Thailand’s Ambassador to India and LOTS’ global and Indian leadership team. “I congratulate LOTS Wholesale Solutions on opening its second store in Delhi-NCR. The Retail sector in India is poised for higher growth as we are growing at 8.2 percent. We have jumped 65 spot and moved up substantially in the ease of doing business. India is the only country to have repealed 1,300 regulatory laws as part of our efforts towards creating a better business environment. Indian FDI has grown 62 percent whereas globally the numbers have shrunk by 16 percent.
This is a unique story for Indian retail and the government is pushing for greater financial inclusion and working closely with other stakeholders. Such enabling regulatory norms and liberalised FDI policy should make it easier for global companies like LOTS to invest in India and on mutually benefiting terms. We will act as a facilitator and assure them of all the support they need to excel and deliver on the demands and expectations of their customers,” said Kant.
In recent years, India has emerged as one of the top destinations for FDI. The inflow of FDI into India has gone up significantly with receipts flowing in from across the world, which has given India access to the latest technology, best practices, and global innovations. The arrival of multinational companies like CP Wholesale Solutions in India, which has chosen a 100 percent FDI route to establish its operations in India, further vindicates the popularity of Brand India in the world. With India’s retail sector projected to grow to USD 1.3 trillion by 2020, the country is the land of opportunities for potential investors and companies looking to start operations here.
There has been an overall growth of the Indian economy, which has increased the purchasing power of the people in rural areas opening development opportunities for the companies to expand their presence. This offers a huge potential for Cash & Carry players to target B2B customers – like kirana stores and catering to the rural audience. Also, the implementation of GST has created a favourable environment for companies like LOTS that aim to establish and expand operations across India. It rubs off positively on supply chain efficiency, uniform assortment of goods and in supporting the end consumers. Cash & Carry, also known as wholesale trade, is fast emerging in India, where Lots Wholesale competes with players such as Walmart, Metro Cash and Carry and Reliance Cash and Carry, a unit of Reliance Industries Ltd. According to Ambassador Chutintorn Gongsakdi, after the arrival of LOTS in India, business interest in the country has picked up substantially and many more companies from
Thailand have begun making enquiries about starting operations in India. “As the Thai Ambassador to India, I have set an ongoing goal for India and Thailand to strengthen our economic relations. One target I had was to have at least two new businesses to come and start business in India during my term in office,” said the Ambassador. He remarked in a lighter vein that his task in India has already been accomplished within one and half years of taking up office. “With the registration ofCP Group’s LOTS Wholesale Solutions Pvt. Ltd. and SCG International Pvt. Ltd., I have already succeeded in meeting my target. I can go home but I have reset my target to bring in two new Thai companies per year.”
Expressing his satisfaction and pleasure at India’s participation in Thailand’s eastern economic corridor, he observed: “Speaking on this occasion, I already know that two new businesses are in the process of registering their business in India. So things are very vibrant. I have witnessed all the hard work done by Tanit and his team with respect to LOTS’ first store. I would like to sincerely congratulate the LOTS team on the opening of the second store. To witness a Thai MNC such as CPGroup, known for great corporate governance and values, grow their business in India gives us great satisfaction and pride. India is a dynamic country with a great future and it is a moment of pride for the Royal Thailand government and myself that Thai companies are keen to play a contributory role in India’s economy.”
Pointing out that the opening of the LOTS’ second store reflects the ongoing rise of Thai businesses in India and is proof of T ai investment successfully flowing into India, Ambassador Chutintorn Gongsakdi said: “LOTS and CP Group’s success will, in turn, have a halo effect on other companies in the CP Group and other Thai businesses wanting to enter India. As ambassador, I am pleased to see the full potential of Indo-Thai economic relations being developed through the engagement of CP Group and other Th ai MNCs and SMEs and also vice versa from the Indian side.We have now around 28 Thai companies in India and the 28 will soon be thirty and more. The trend is good and The Royal Thai embassy has been receiving many expressions of interest in doing business with Thailand from the Indian side as well. I will use my office as a business matching venue to put this act together. Thanks to the eff orts of Amitabh Kant, Niti Ayog, and others in team India, the government in India has been very successful in reforming the economy and making it friendly to investors. Th is is the right time for Th ai businesses to secure their place in India’s future. And this message is not only for Th ais but other ASEAN and other nationalities as well. It’s not too late to be in India and startnow but in another five years it will almost be too late. Thailand is ranked 26 in the ease of doing business and we also off er a very friendly setting for foreign investors wishing to set up operations in our country.”
The Indian government, on its part, is actively favouring open-door policies in investment and trade. The government is pushing for financial inclusion and working closely with ministries like Commerce, DIPP and Food Processing to bring relief to farmers by doubling their income through better yield. “It is our vision to make India an ideal place for large format business groups to set up shop and contribute to the growing demands of our growing nation. I am impressed that LOTS with its values of “local love” and principles of 3Cs – country,community and company – is not just about profit making but also about focusing on contributing to the society in equal measure. My compliments to LOTS Wholesale Solutions for opening two wholesale stores within a span of three months,” Kant said.
In India, LOTS is committed to invest over Rs 1,000 crore in the first five years and its plan of opening 15 wholesale distribution centres across northern India has already started taking shape. Within a span of one year of signing the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Ministry of Food Processing Industries, the company – CP Wholesale India Private Limited – was incorporated, LOTS brand was launched and two stores have started operations already. It plans to open a third one in Noida by the end of this financial year. Because of the real estate challenges in the country, the company has decided to open 25,000-50,000 sq. ft. stores inside the cities instead of outskirts. “If we build centres out of the city, it is very difficult for the people to travel. Th at is the reason why we continue to focus on building stores where the catchment is,” said Tanit.
The company, which invests on average Rs. 60-70 crore in one centre, is also looking at opening stores in Lucknow, Kanpur, Varanasi, Jalandhar, and Kolkata. For the next 2-3 years, the company will continue to add more stores in north India as a part of its expansion plans and intends to have a national footprint in 10 years time. Besides, the company also plans to adopt the omni-channel system for integrating online sales channel with its brick and mortar stores and is also exploring the idea of having dark stores/fulfilment centre in India.
“With regulatory changes like GST, demonetization, RERA and the Make in India policy bringing about a higher organization on the Indian retail scene, there is no time like the present for retailers from across the world to venture into the country and invest. Our parent company Siam Makro has defi nitive expansion plans in the ASEAN region and owing to a positive regulatory environment, India is the first on our list. We see a lot of potential and the right type of investing and retailing environment in the country, which is why we were ready to take the lead here,” said Sameer Singh, Director – Operations, Business Development and Expansion, LOTS Wholesale Solutions.
He added that LOTS follows a cluster approach. The brand sets up stores basis the supplier/ customer base so that it can provide them with a hassle-free experience and build a robust supply chain and make the delivery process faster. “Our parent company Siam Makro has evolved into several separate store formats and we are bringing all these formats and this knowledge to India, ready to explore both large or small sizes and even multilevel sizes. We can look at different sizes, which could help us at different levels. It gives us that excitement to be part of the catchment itself, otherwise we might be stuck on a certain format,” explains Singh.
This catchment-specific approach is extended to the daily needs and grocery sections of the product range of LOTS as well. All efforts are made to source fresh produce from local farming community, which helps farmers earn better while reducing wastage during transportation and storage.
According to Singh, LOTS offers solutions to member companies, which help them undertake a path of sustainable growth. Our product selection is based on detailed research that is specific to the region as well as the community. A critical element is to provide support to the home-grown brands – an essential component of our region-specific business strategy. Therefore, apart from engaging with international brands, we are working very closely with Indian brands and local farmers.”
Taking pride in working with the local community and giving back to society, LOTS has joined hands with farmers in Bhatinda to help them adopt progressive farming methodology. In addition to that, the company is committed to sourcing fresh produce from the local farming communities, share know-how and packaging and storage so that farmers can reduce wastage during transportation and storage and increase their income. The company hopes that its efforts will help to develop the agricultural sector in India.
At the same time, LOTS is focused on customers’ needs and satisfaction. The company brings specially curated assortments, categorised into food and beverages, kitchenware, household appliances, home decor, furniture, bedding, textiles, stationery and office supplies, electronic products and others; making LOTS Wholesale Solutions a complete one-stop shop. Th e company also offers a varied set of benefits to its members, including a wide range of product selection at its stores, based on detailed research specifically catered to the catchment area and market demand. Th e company, which currently has a customer base of around one lakh members,will also offer its support to home-grown brands and local suppliers and is looking to turn profitable in the next five years.
“We place our customers at the core of our business and aim to provide a hassle-free shopping experience, making LOTS Wholesale Solutions a one stop shop for all their business needs. We aim at sourcing our products from not only top international brands but also Indian brands as well. Additionally, we believe in supporting the local community so that they flourish without support,” emphasised Tanit Chearavanont.