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Small retail chains in non-metros remain relevant despite modern retail onslaught

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Ninja retailers operating supermarkets in Tier-II and III cities across the country have re-invented themselves to remain relevant with their own innovative approach, despite large modern retail chains entering their backyard.

Navjeevan Super Shop at Jalgaon in Maharashtra, JMart in Delhi, Ratnadeep in Hyderabad, Jalans Supermarket in Varanasi and Miraj Retail in Rajasthan are few of them who continue to expand and adopt practices of modern retail like loyalty programs along with quality products.

Participating in a panel discussion at the 12th India Food Forum here, Anil Kankariya, Managing Partner, Navjeevan Super Shop, Jalgaon said, “We focus on quality aspects on our products like dal. In Jalgaon, there are 220 dal mills which are sourced by retailers in US, which we have effectively been using it to our advantage.”

Miraj Retail has opted for 1,000-1,600 square feet for a catchment of 50,000 population and it hopes to add one new outlet every two months. Similarly, Chennai-based Nuts`n’ Spices Managing Partner Sunil Sanklecha graduated from his grandfather’s outlet to set up 33 specialty stores.

So far, regional grocery chains were believed to be facing challenging times to defend their market share from national chains as also digital companies led by rising e-commerce transactions. However, trends in regional and rural areas seem to indicate otherwise, of late.

For instance, in Ahmedabad, Rajesh Francis, Proprietor of MagSon Fresh and Frozen has 20 stores in Gujarat and 1 in Thane in Maharashtra. It started with its first 250 square feet outlet around 9 years back.

“Who eats non-veg in Gujarat,” was a question asked. And we thought it was an opportunity as Gujarat is cosmopolitan with rapid industrial and corporate growth, said Francis.

Most retailers in the panel believed that there is adequate scope in next 3-5 years to develop technology and loyalty programs. As Manish Bhartiya, Director, Ratnadeep SuperMarkets put it, “We have 28 lakh loyalty customers and three years back, we had 75 percent customer recall.”

Earlier, speaking at the forum, Arvind Varchaswi, Managing Director, Sri Sri Tattva said, “We have broken across all our product categories. We just don’t launch a product just because we need to. We have a certain matrix. We have 350 products till date and the number of SKUs are comparatively very high.”

Ayurveda contributes maximum to the revenue of the brand toothpaste in personal care and cookies in FMCG are the highest contributor, he said, without disclosing revenues.

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