Spencer's in retail rollout overdrive

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By PARAN BALAKRISHNAN in Delhi
  • Published 8.03.07
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New Delhi, March 8: Spencer’s Retail, the RPG Group chain, is embarking on a massive rollout of 1,000 new outlets by 2009 with its biggest hypermarket planned for Calcutta’s South City.

The chain will open on an average one new store every three days over the next three years.

It aims to expand to 72 towns and cities by next June as it extends its India footprint. It currently has 400 stores in 25 cities.

The chain will open three of its smaller stores in Calcutta on March 23 and will be launching in Durgapur on March 30.

In Calcutta, the chain plans to have over 25 stores by the year-end, including three giant hypermarkets at South City, Mani Square and Rashbehari Avenue. The South City store will be a sprawling 78,000 sq ft and will be the group’s largest store in the country.

“I would like to move even faster,” said Sanjiv Goenka, vice-chairman, RPG Enterprises. Goenka announced the group’s massive expansion plans at the launch of a 62,000 sq ft hypermarket in Gurgaon on the outskirts of Delhi.

He said the group plans to spend about Rs 1,100 crore in the next three years as its expansion gets underway.

Goenka said, “Once you have the back-end in place, there is no additional cost.”

Spencer’s is also launching a book chain, Books & Beyond, as well as another new venture, RPG Cellucom, that will retail mobile phones and other electronic devices.

It aims to have about 60 Books & Beyond stores by the year end. In addition, it plans to open about 1,000 Cellucom stores during the same period.

Some of these will be part of larger hypermarkets and supermarkets and others will be stand-alone outlets.

The group, which is following a ‘cluster’ approach, intends to open about 30 stores in Delhi by the year end and plans to have about 300,000 sq ft in operation in the National Capital Region in the coming months.

With its expansion plans, Spencer’s is taking head-on other corporate houses like Reliance and the Future Group which are also rolling out large numbers of stores around the country.

However, Goenka said he has no plans to get into farming unlike some of his rivals. “We will stick to what we know best,” he said.