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Big Bazaar move to boost trade

- Company re-orients Bhangagarh outlet for community retail

Guwahati, Feb. 26: After having sustained the highest growth in the eastern zone for over a year now, the Future Group-owned Big Bazaar outlet here has come up with a bouquet of value-added services to further boost its business.

“We have introduced a consumer-friendly “Grain to Roti” concept where buyers can have multi-grain atta (flour) ground by availing of chakki services and have the option of picking their grains at the outlet itself,” Manish Agarwal, business head, Big Bazaar (East zone), told The Telegraph.

The company has re-oriented the Bhangagarh outlet into a Big Bazaar Family Centre — a sub brand that focuses on community retailing.

“New products and services that cater to the shopping needs of a family have been included under the model. In line with the concept, we have also endeavoured to make cooking, for instance, easy by introducing fruits and vegetables that are cut and ready for use at home,” Agarwal said.

“Then again, we have created a new set-up where a buyer has the option of tasting a variety of rice before a purchase,” he said.

Besides, an e-zone covering 8,000 square feet will be operational by the first week of March. “The idea is to give consumers all the latest gadgets and gizmos, including LCDs, LEDs, laptops, mobile phones and other electronic essentials under one roof,” he said.

On consumer trends in the Northeast, Agarwal said, “People here prefer value-for-money products that are trendy and fashionable. We have shifted the apparel section to the ground floor.”

Interestingly, the percentage ratio of weekend sales against working day sales in the Guwahati outlet would be about 45:55 as opposed to 60:40 in the others.

“That’s because people here shop more on working days than on weekends. The trend in the metros and bigger cities is the other way round,” he said. The outlet also has a frozen food section. “Last month, we increased our cash counters to 35 given the increasing footfalls and long queues for making payments,” the official said.

Over the years, the retail sector has witnessed substantial growth in the Northeast. The retail real estate market size of the region is currently pegged at over Rs 11,000 crore, with Guwahati leading the way with a share of over Rs 4,000 crore.

Industry sources maintain that a growing mall culture, consumerism and increasing disposable incomes have accounted for the favourable climate for retail shops here. As of now, Future Group has its eyes set on Guwahati only in regard to its Northeast expansion plan. “The next outlet in the Northeast will be in Guwahati as the city happens to be the nerve centre of the region,” he said.

BIG BUSINESS

• The Big Bazaar outlet in Guwahati ranks number one in eastern India in terms of business. It currently fares better than each of the 14 outlets in Calcutta
• The outlet at Bhangagarh posted a year-on-year growth of 17-18% in 2013-14. With a retail space of 80,000 square feet, it is the largest in the eastern region, which covers Bengal, Odisha, Bihar, Jharkhand and the Northeast
• There are 42 Big Bazaar outlets in the eastern zone, four of which are in the Northeast
• The Guwahati outlet has an average footfall of 5,500 to 7,000 customers
• Fashion at Big Bazaar, the standalone fashion store, was opened last year in Guwahati