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Retail war hots up in Mumbai

Three years after it opens its first hypermarket in Ahmedabad, Trent's Star India Bazaar has now hit the Mumbai circuit, report Saurabh Turakhia & Radhika Pancholi.

business Updated: Sep 14, 2007 21:05 IST

Three years after it opened its first hypermarket in Ahmedabad, Trent's Star India Bazaar has now hit the Mumbai circuit with a new brand name and in a new locality. Star Bazaar, as it would be known now, opened its doors to Dahisar in Mumbai on Thursday.

Compare this to Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Retail, which is making inroads and is set to open its Reliance Fresh stores in Mumbai by the end of March 2008, and you know that Mumbai is bracing up for the retail war.

It is the consumer who stands to benefit from this competition where retailers are one-up over the other on the basis of realty, pricing and marketing strategies.

According to industry sources, Reliance Fresh stores would be spread over an area of 1,800-10,000 sq feet, with the first 10,000 sq feet store scheduled to be opened at Vashi soon. Future Group's Big Bazaars range from an area of 35,000-70,000 sq feet. Trent's Star Bazaar is spread over 50,000 sq ft.

Retailers are also vying for every square feet available on Mumbai's commercial circuit. Having just opened its first store here, Trent will immediately follow up with a similar one in Andheri and about 23-25 stores on a pan-India basis by 2009-10. Future Group already has six Big Bazaars existing across Mumbai, while Reliance Fresh plans to open 100 stores in Mumbai by 2008.

"We would open a store similar to the one at Dahisar in Andheri in a couple of months," Trent's Marketing Head Neeti Chopra told Hindustan Times. Smaller players like the Chennai-headquartered Subhiksha chain of neighbourhood outlets and Mumbai-based Spinach, are adding to the competition at the lower level.

On the flip-side, retailers are unperturbed with loyalty card programmes and special promotions catching the customer's fancy. A Pantaloon Retail official told Hindustan Times: "We keep introducing innovative initiatives. For example, in order to give the non-working housewife another day, we introduced the concept of Wednesday Bazaar, which offered products at cheapest prices on Wednesdays."

Reliance Fresh stores offer to insure their consumers through a Life insurance policy.