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After Spencer's, Hypercity launches small format stores

Hypercity, one of India's largest hypermarkets introduces its first convenience store in Jaipur on Wednesday, reports Radhika Pancholi.

business Updated: Aug 08, 2007 21:35 IST
Radhika Pancholi
Radhika Pancholi
Hindustan Times

As real estate gets costlier and customers get choosy about where they shop, organised retail has woken up to the bonsai form of supermarkets—convenience stores.

Hypercity, one of India's largest hypermarkets introduced its first convenience store in Jaipur on Wednesday.

Expresscity, as this format is called, would be spread over an area of 2,500 to 4,000 square feet. The retailer plans to open seven such stores by the end of this fiscal. "We plan to open a Hypercity in Jaipur in September and since the city has the demographic mix that is apt for a convenience store on the lines of Expresscity, we felt this was an ideal platform to launch the format here," Hypercity's CEO, Andrew Levermore told Hindustan Times.

The retailer plans to open 150 such stores throughout the country in the next five years.

Expresscity is positioned as a neighbourhood convenience store where customers can do their daily shopping and choose from a variety of fresh produce, grocery, meals-to-go, household needs and personal care products.

Admitting that realty costs did play an important part in determining the location of the store and its format, Levermore pointed out this was one of the reasons that though Mumbai was one of the likely cities to launch Expresscity, it wasn't the destination after Jaipur. "Even though we do have a Hypercity format in Mumbai, the spiralling real estate costs here have made us think twice about our convenience store format in the megapolis," said Levermore.

While the investment for Hypercity, keeping the real estate costs aside, is about Rs 1500 per sq ft, Levermore said that the investment in a convenience store format, because of increased refrigeration costs to keep vegetables fresh throughout the day, was about Rs 2,200 per sq ft, making it a costly affair if realty costs were taken into consideration.

Recently, Spencer's unveiled their new-look stores, which would be available in five formats, with the convenience format forming a sizeable chunk of its total number of stores. Similarly, the Future Group, which runs large format stores such as Big Bazaar, Food Bazaar and Pantaloons, also plans to launch a chain of stores in the convenience store format.

First Published: Aug 08, 2007 21:29 IST