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Balaji Grand Bazar: From a corner store to a store chain

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The story of the evolution of Balaji Grand Bazar from a corner store of 360 sq. ft. into one of the largest supermarket store chains in Hyderabad

Bengaluru: Balaji Grand Bazar is a name familiar to all Hyderabadians regardless of which part of the city they are in. The well-established hypermarket/supermarket chain in Hyderabad offers a mix of traditional and modern range of products from Indian and international brands.

Humble beginnings

Balaji Grand Bazar started its journey in 1958 as a family business from a single corner store of 360 sq. ft. in the city’s Basheer Bagh area. In 1977, after 19 years of retailing from the small store, founder Ramesh Chand Agarwal launched his first supermarket, spread across 4,000 sq. ft. of real estate.

In 1982, barely five years after the opening of its first store, Agarwal opened another full-fledged store at Banjara Hills Road No1. And in 1996, he opened a third supermarket of Balaji Grand Bazar.

Over the next few years, he opened several more in strategic locations around Hyderabad. Today, three generations of the family are actively engaged in running the business that has expanded to a chain of 14 stores, out of which four are in high-end locations and the rest are in gated communities catering to more than 18,000 families.

Balaji also launched a warehouse facility of 25,000 sq. ft. on Puppalaguda-Narsingi Road, Hyderabad with modern amenities to receive, check, redistribute, sort and pack.

Today

Currently, Balaji Grand Bazar is doing business under Sunil Agarwal Group headed by second-generation Sunil Agarwal as the managing director, assisted by his two sons Darpan Agarwal and Prateek Agarwal as executive directors who look after the day-to-day business and compliances.

The group’s most recent store was launched in 2022 and all 14 stores together cover 58,361 sq. ft. area of retail space spread across Hyderabad and Secunderabad.

Currently, each Balaji store has more than 20000 SKUs comprising FMCG, personal care, fashion and lifestyle products and homeware. Refreshment counters are an added attraction in some of the stores, of special interest to those with kids.

Today, the Balaji supermarkets witness 700-800 footfall on weekdays and 950-1000 on weekends in its high street stores, while gated community stores get a footfall of 400-500 on weekdays and 600-650 on weekends. 

Technology

“We follow a central distribution system for quick and good fill rate as well as for better assortment and availability of products,” said Agarwal in an exclusive interaction with IndiaRetailing.

“Our new stores are coming up with multi-floor premises, ample parking and enhanced shopping facilities. These are building in our own property/development basis, which will give us a positive edge and customer satisfaction,” he added.

Balaji stores are technology enabled as well. “Our warehouse and stores are connected online and have live data management. The cloud server management helps get quicker information on hands for decision-making. It encourages rapid ordering/replenishment and resolving assortment issues,” explained Agarwal.

“Also, recently we added GPS to our matrix management for tracing delivery at our stores for the convenience of our customers,” he added.

Future plans

Out of the company’s total revenue, 45% comes from food. About 20% comes from the brand’s own staples and pulses, 25% from non-foods products including general merchandise, household plastics and small electricals and 10% from fruits and vegetables. In addition to the existing categories, Balaji is planning to introduce new category ranges.

“We are now planning to open our supermarkets with specialty stores within for pharmaceutical products, readymade apparel, home furnishing, footwear and restaurants on our own or franchise/shop-in-shop basis,” he added.

Speaking about its offline expansion plans, the second-generation entrepreneur informed that in the coming financial year, Balaji plans to add five to eight more stores in high-end street locations, out of which three stores will open soon.

“We are now planning to expand into locations with high employee density and other special economic zones.”

Balaji is also aiming to venture outside Hyderabad. “At the moment, we are confined within Hyderabad/Secunderabad city limits. Although from 2025, we are planning to spread to more tier II cities in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh,” he added.

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