The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Mall call: cost, comfort & convenience
- Calcutta’s first big-format supermarket chain ready for Elgin Road debut

Stock up on fresh fruits and vegetables to go with the eggs and the cheese. Throw in the week’s groceries, add the frankfurter sausages and chocolates. You can also pick up your strip of aspirin and add a few cans of beer and cola for the weekend get-together. Still room for more in the basket' Don’t miss the personalcare or homecare products, or the latest Harry Potter fave or Ricky Martin rave.

Over 25,000 stock-keeping units arranged in clutter-free format through international-standard visual signage under a 6,100-sq-ft roof, 15 hours a day, 365 days a year. C3-The Market Place, Calcutta’s “first big-format, organised supermarket chain”, is ready to hit town later this month with its triple pluses of cost, comfort and convenience.

An initiative of TAI Industries Ltd, the first C3 outlet is coming up inside Lee Residency, at the junction of Elgin Road and Lee Road. “After the retail boom in garments and the new-age restaurant revolution, Calcutta is poised for a surge in supermarkets and hypermarts. We hope to come in with the first-mover’s edge in this largely uncharted territory with our eclectic product-mix, speed and efficiency of service and a special ambience,” says a management spokesperson for the company in the business of marketing food products.

From provisions to processed meat, fresh flowers to birthday cakes, medicines to spirits (pending clearance for IMFL), bestsellers to chart-busters, C3 will stock everything a household needs, offering the option of multiple brands and “systematically trained” customer counsellors. “If a consumer has 15 items on his mind while walking into C3, we will make sure he walks out with at least 14 of those in the basket,” assures Shantonu Nag, manager (operations).

The group is looking at four to five 7,000-plus-sq-ft outlets in the city over the next six months and 10-15 in the next two years, with the crowning glory being a 20,000 sq ft hypermart on the EM Bypass, beside Ruby General Hospital.

“We would like to give the concept of the friendly neighbourhood store a whole new meaning and our target customers would come from within a three-km radius,” says a director of the company.

While full-fledged home delivery is also on the cards, the management is pondering a ‘shop & drop’ scheme to start with. “For instance, a customer can pick up some stuff, pay up and drop the package at the counter before rushing to catch a movie at nearby INOX. We will arrange to drop it home as a value-add,” the director adds.

Among other ‘convenience points’, the supermarket will have in-house parking and a captive 3-tonne cold storage to manage the supply chain and handle imports better. Kookie Jar will have an outlet inside C3, while talks are on with others for store-in-store counters. “Calcutta needs one success story to kick-start a trend. Pantaloons did it in garments retail, Mainland China in fine dining and now the city is ready for formatted supermarkets,” stresses a C3 representative.

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