In India, the chain store concept seems to be catching up relatively faster in food retailing. Foods lend better for chain store operation relative to other lines. Food chains sell food items such as grocery, coking oils, beverages, confectionery and bakery products, fruit and vegetables, meats ad marine foods, snack foods and frozen foods. Food retail chains seem to be doing particularly well in the South Food World has 25 stores spread across Chennai, Bangalore and Hyderabad. Nilgiri’s chain has 18 stores spread across south India. Vitan has nine stores all in Chennai. Vitan, Channai, TriNetra, Hyderabad and Varkey’s, Kochi are chains operating in a single city.
The Nilgiris is another prominent food chain. Like the Food World, Nilgiris too is concentrated in the South.
Foodlands of Mumbai is another food chain in the country. Foodlands opened its first shop at Juhu, an up-market suburb. Foodlands primarily sells foods items apart from toiletries and detergents. As the shop at Juhu became very successful, Foodlands has been extended into a chain.
Escorts Nanz Chain:
As mentioned briefly in the earlier section the Escorts Nanz chain has been active for some years now in the North, especially Delhi.
Discount retailing is a distinctive format in retail chains. Discount retail chains basically compete in price. They target the middle and lower end of the middle class customers. The ambience of the store, the air conditioning the shop displays the piped music, the bright lights and the attractiveness of the packaging does to matter so much to this group. What these customers care about more is lower prices and accessibility nearer home so that they do not have to lug heavy bags of groceries and other items over a long distance. Only top-end customers, who have cars to go shopping in, can be comfortable with the glitzy chain stores at select locations. Discount retailing has the potential to be a big category in India, since a large majority of Indians are price sensitive customers.
The discount chain format is highly successful in the West. The ability in large volumes, the ability to keep overheads minimal, and the ability to sell rates considerably lower than market prices able them to play the game. Though manufacturers in India, in general, are not quite happy with the concept of discounts, this is a format that has good potential in India as the consumers overwhelmingly vote for it.
Subhiksha Discount Chain:
The Subhiksha discount chain, Chennai is a good example the Subhiksha format makes sense in view of the low prices and the neighborhood concept. Subhiksha is just replicating the style of kirana shops so that customers feel comfortable with it. The format worked because it matched Subhisha’s customers – the hard core middle class.
The Pantaloon chain is another example of a discount chain.
International Chains too evince some Interest in the Indian Market.
Recent years, international retail chains have also started evincing some interest in the retail business of India. Marsh Supermarkets Inc., the US supermarket chain with revenues totalling $ 1.5 billion a year, and Nanz have already entered India through a stake in Escorts Nanz chain. Marks & Spencer of the UK has already opened its first store in India in the crossroads mall in Mumbai. Wal-Mart has been examining the possibility of setting up its chains India. Little Woods International had made its move by setting up shop in Bangalore. But, as mentioned already it sold itself to Tatas and is now out of the fray. Benetton has some in with DCM and has set up a few stores. Airy arm International the retail wing of the Jardine Matheson group, a major international player in retailing has its presence through its tie-ups with the RPG group as well as the Tatas. With its stake in the two groups Jardine is expected to play a significant role in India in the coming years.