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Wednesday, Mar 13, 2002

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Pantaloon to extend Big Bazaar discount stores to Mumbai

Purvita Chatterjee

A view of the Big Bazaar store in Hyderabad.

MUMBAI, March 12

BIG Bazaar, a division of Pantaloon Retail (India) Ltd, is planning to extend its chain of stores. After Bangalore, Hyderabad and Kolkata, Big Bazaar will now stretch its brand to Mumbai by opening three hyper markets in the city.

Offering discounts ranging from 5 per cent to 60 per cent, discount stores is still a nascent concept in India.

Although there are a few stores operating in this segment such as Giant in Hyderabad, it is mostly international chains such as Walmart and Carrefour which are the better known names as discount stores worldwide.

Explains Mr Kishore Biyani, Managing Director, Pantaloon Retail (India) Ltd., "Indians are counting on discount stores and consider it a favourable concept. After all we are offering a variety of products all under one roof, which is bound to attract a lot of consumers."

Bagging extensive retail space, imperative for such a venture, the Big Bazaar in Mumbai will have a 50,000 sq. ft area at each of its locations at Lower Parel, Mulund and the western suburbs. These Big Bazaar stores will be open to the public in Mumbai by the end of the year.

Big Bazaar launched its stores in Bangalore, Hyderabad and Kolkata last year. Marking an investment of Rs 10 crore into this new division, Pantaloon is expecting to record the highest turnover from its Mumbai stores. Adds Mr Biyani, "We expect a turnover to the tune of almost Rs 80 crore from Mumbai alone within the first year of operations."

But the projected turnover from its other Big Bazaar stores in Bangalore, Hyderabad and Kolkata is Rs 50 crore this year.

Meanwhile the general retailers in Mumbai are not too pleased about the concept of discount stores. Claims a retailer at a south Mumbai outlet, "We can't figure out from where such stores get their margins? It must have a feasible revenue model to sustain the venture."

Offering products and services such as a chemist, a photography shop, a bakery, financial products, automobile accessories, financial products, bicycles, electrical hardware, among other items, the range is vast and fulfils practically every need of the consumer under one roof.

"Each store will have a bazaar and shop-in-shop experience created specifically to cater to a customer's complete shopping basket under one roof," states Mr Biyani.

Considering that Pantaloon has already bagged substantial retail space in Hyderabad (60,000 sq ft), Kolkata (35,000 sq ft) and Bangalore (40,000 sq ft), Big Bazaar as a discount store brand is expected to lure consumers through its range and prices. "We are offering maximum discounts for garments and fashion wear," says Mr Biyani. Scouting for partners in Mumbai currently, the company is on the look out for reputed retailers who would like to stock their products at its about-to-be-launched Big Bazaar stores in the city.

With a baseline `Is se Accha aur profitable kahin nahi', Big Bazaar claims to be India's first chain of hypermarket discount stores.

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