Retailers are devising interesting ways to battle the surge in prices and to bring customers back to their stores. Since the impact of inflation has been highest in food and grocery, these are the innovation crucibles for retailers.
“We will offer a 20 per cent discount on a patron’s food bill for any purchase of and over Rs 750,” said Rajan Malhotra, CEO of Big Bazaar. So, if someone buys furniture worth Rs 750, she can get a Rs 150 discount on a grocery bill of Rs 750.
Malhotra added that this promotion would run in all the 85 Big Bazaar outlets for 11 days. He is betting on cross-promotion. “While normally we would do business of Rs 70 crore in these 11 days, with this promotion, we expect Rs 130-140 crore,” he said.
Other retailers, too, are planning their own measures around ballooning food prices. Spinach, for example, is introducing weekend offers for products whose prices have shot up significantly. “We are not passing on the entire impact of the price rise on to consumers. We are also negotiating hard with suppliers,” said Pushpamitra Das, official spokesperson for Spinach.
There are 50 Spinach stores countrywide. Das does not deny sales have declined marginally due to inflation. “In addition, we have introduced weekend offers for mangoes, onions and tomatoes. On weekends, for instance, tomatoes are available for Rs 12.50 per kg and onions are sold for Rs 4.90 per kg,” Das added.
Sanjiv Goenka, vice-chairman of RPG Enterprises, which runs the Spencer’s stores, said, “We have some plans but that is information we will not like to share.” He said efforts were on to build more excitement around food. The group, which has 400 Spencer’s outlets, will add another 400 by March 2009.
Mohit Khattar, president, marketing, Subhiksha, said, “It is true that in certain food categories, manufacturers have increased prices, but Subhiksha continues to offer greater value to consumers by keeping prices consistently lower.”
He added that prices of pulses and edible oils had seen the biggest jumps. However, the chain does not plan any promotion around food for now.