From there, the speciality retailer, with a varied portfolio ranging from nuts to spices to beverages, health food (for diabetics and dieters), imported cookies, chocolates and dairy products, has plans to enter Hyderabad soon. Sunil Sanklecha, spearheading the 34 retail outlets, including one in Coimbatore, says while there is an aspiration to have a national footprint, there is no hurry.
“Our immediate plan is to enter Hyderabad within four months and our priority is to first complete expansion in the south, before we scale up our operations,” he says.
For now, Puducherry is a pilot project, where the retailer is testing the intra-state experience that would determine the compliance and other standards required for future expansion. The decision to be present in other states is based on customers feedback, rather than market surveys. Also, the preferred mode of expansion is to enhance presence in cities and metros rather than entering tier II locations.
Coimbatore, for instance, has not been a game changer for the retailer, who is looking at consolidation. “Cities offer better potential to open more stores and that is a viable model. While the principles are the same, we have different strategies for the markets where we operate,” Sanklecha says.
The retailer is keen on exploring the complementary nature of the business. The formula is simple: operate in small-sized format stores (typically 1,200 sq ft), consolidate, keep category focus and cater to the segment of customers who are willing to pay a price for premium products, he says, but concedes that business has been tough given the current market slowdown.
“Our growth projections hinge on the purchases picking up,” he says. Dry fruits constitute a sizeable chunk of the business with the retailer anticipating a 10-15 per cent growth in the next year.