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Has Aastha Almast of The New Shop really cracked the success formula of Convenience Stores in India?

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R S Roy
R S Roy
R S Roy is the editorial advisor at IMAGES Group

A look at how Aastha Almast is changing the dynamics of convenience retail in the country

Aastha Almast has shattered the myth that women cannot build successful retail businesses as they are operations-heavy. She took up this challenge and achieved many firsts. For instance, The New Shop became the youngest grocer to turn profitable within three years of operation.

Today, it operates 155 stores that are open round the clock in more than 30 cities. The chain boats $2 million monthly gross merchandise value (GMV) and has been profitable for 12 months.

And she has achieved all this without coming from a legacy retail business family. Almost, a complete outsider in retail, opened her first store with co-founders Charak Almast and Mani Dev Gyawali at Delhi’s Anand Vihar Railway station in Feb 2020.

The tech-enabled grocery retail start-up driven by founders runs on end-to-end retail tech built in-house. It has integrated real-time cloud-based applications for inventory management, MIS for franchise partners, predictive analytics based on its own AI-ML model, delivery app, supply chain management and automated point-of-sale solutions.

The New Shop is available to customers across 14 channels—customers can shop in-store or online through its app or website. Being a truly omnichannel retailer, it offers in-store pick-ups and shop in-store and pay online. Customers can also shop using WhatsApp, website, phone calls, and aggregators like Zomato and Swiggy.

Here are some interesting facts about The New Shop:

* The New Shop aspires to become India’s fastest-growing affordable family convenience retailer, yet it sells at full price.

* It mostly sells made-in-India products and brands.

* Generats Rs. 2500 average sales per sq. ft. per month and Rs. 250 net ROI per sq. ft. per month.

* Opens stores are at all possible locations—neighbourhoods, highways and gas stations. The brand also plans to reopen soon at airports and railway stations and also plans to open in malls.

* Is setting 24/7 convenience retail as a big trend even in tier 2,3 & 4 cities in India

* The New Shop is gaining popularity among youngsters who don’t have many avenues for going out at night.

* The chain hasn’t closed even a single store since its inception and just relocated three stores so far.

* Has developed a unique store-in-a-box concept so stores can easily be relocated in a small container for just Rs. 15,000.

* Offers a franchise-friendly profitable business model that can empower anyone to become a business owner with a training programme, brand partnerships, and ease of doing business.

* Empowers women through business ownership. Today, 15% of The New Shop’s franchisees are women. Almast’s mission is to empower 10,000 entrepreneurs in India by 2030, of which at least 25% should be women.

* The New Shop’s franchise model has a payback of fewer than 20 months, which is among the best in the industry.

* Almast and team have built one of the largest franchise networks in FMCG retail with over 150 franchised stores which are growing at 5%-10% month-on-month.

Targeting 500 stores this coming fiscal year, indeed, Almast has cracked the success formula for convenience stores in India by combining innovation, technology, scalability, and a customer-centric approach. Her pioneering efforts have not only reshaped the convenience store landscape but have also set new standards for excellence in the retail industry.

The New Shop’s unique store-in-a-box concept

About Aastha

Co-chairperson of the Startup & Entrepreneurship committee of Delhi Management Association, Aastha Almast is a serial entrepreneur, who is always looking for solutions to simplify businesses—making them more productive and efficient.

Before launching The New Shop, Almast spearheaded a series of start-ups across diverse industries such as mobile gaming, online reputation management and consumer retail. She has previously also worked in Bank of America and other corporate jobs. While studying for a Bachelor’s, she joined her father’s stock broking firm making her one of the youngest certified stock brokers at the National Stock Exchange. She has lived an adventurous life and has amassed 15 years of diversified experience in entertainment, finance, branding, and retail. She also acted in a Bollywood film as a child actress. Her interests and pursuits are also reflected in her well-rounded personality.

A Delhi Public School alumnus, she has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from Hindu College, Delhi University. She then completed her PGDM in Fashion Marketing from Pearl Academy of Fashion as a 100% merit scholarship student. She pursued an executive program in Applied Finance from the Indian Institute of Management.

Featured as a BW 40under40 twice, Almast is a true-born entrepreneur, and her journey is a testament to resilience, determination, and optimism.

Despite facing numerous challenges in her personal and professional life, she continues to inspire others with her unwavering commitment to success.

Aastha Almast’s impact extends beyond business success.

Don’t miss the opportunity to hear her inspiring story and insights at the Phygital Retail Convention. Her invaluable perspectives are sure to ignite conversations and spark innovation in the retail industry.

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