Hypercity, the hypermarket arm of Raheja Group’s Shoppers’ Stop chain opened its doors to Mumbai in May. This week, the latest hypermarket to hit the marquee is expecting its one-millionth customer. In the two-and-a-half months since its launch, Hypercity has added a lot more to give a “complete customer experience”.
Andrew Levermore, CEO of Hypercity, speaks to Radhika Pancholi on the way forward for Hypercity, the challenges international players will have to face and what the entry of big names as Reliance means for the retail industry.
What challenges does the retail market face especially in the wake of big players as Reliance coming into this sector and global players looking for a foothold in India?
The share of the Indian organised retail market stands at around 4 per cent and there’s lots of place for more players to come in. However in the long run its either one-stop shops or convenience stores that will work. Those who fall somewhere in the middle of these will eventually perish. As far as global players are concerned, it would be arrogant of them to assume that they can come in and get the customer as the Indian retail model is unique in its own way. They will need to assess the market and adapt to it if they want a foothold in this country as India epitomises the “supply creates demand” model that these retailers may not be used to.
Your model to work with farmers for the food-supply chain hasn’t really taken off. Why?
We are working towards this model and most of the plan is in place. However, the government legislation mandates that farmers supply through certain channels. Once the legislation changes we can go ahead with our model where we are ready to invest with them and in turn would be dealing directly with farmers resulting in better profits for them and better value for our customers.
Hypercity has got an overwhelming response in two months. What separates this hypermarket from the rest?
We did not want Hypercity to become just another “sweat the space” store and therefore opted for a large area where everything could be displayed well and give the customer the convenience of maneouvering across the store. Apart from that, we also worked on product prices. Rich people love low prices and poor people need low prices. Therefore we had to create the right mix of quality and value so that we could provide highly aspirational products at affordable prices.
How many more Hypercities are planned in this fiscal and next? Are you looking at developing more properties through tie-ups with malls?
We have already finalised 20 properties and plan to open three Hypercities, one each in Mumbai, Hyderabad and Pune by April 2007. Our luxury food store should hit the Mumbai markets by November 2006. Though we are a part of the K Raheja group, we are extremely flexible on our tie-ups and if we see a good deal we will take it. We would need at least 1,50,000 sq ft for our stores. We are already planning some Hypercities that would be the anchor stores of these malls.