If retailers are to be classified on the basis of the merchandize mix that they offer to their customers, they may be very broadly be classified into for oriented and the general merchandise retailers. Within this classification, we can further classify them on the basis of the target market that they cater to. Specialty stores, department stores and convenience stores cater to a very specific target market. They are hence many a times referred to as product/service retailers. In contrast, the supermarkets, discount stores, hypermarkets and off price retailers cater to a mass market and are often called traditional product retailers.
These are relatively small stores located near residential areas, they are open for long hours seven days a week and offer a limited line of convenience products like eggs, bread, milk, etc. The evolution of this format of retail has been dealt with in the article covering the evolution of retail formats.
The Food Marketing Institute defines this format as small local stores selling manly groceries open until late at night even 24 hours per day and sometimes abbreviated to c-store. The store size ranges from 3,000 to 8,000 sq ft and they are targeted at customers who want to make their purchases quickly. Though convenience stores per se, do not exist in India, the retail stores that have started coming up at petrol pumps in major Indian cities like HP Speed Mart and In & Out can be termed as convenience stores. A point to be pondered upon in the Indian context is whether our local baniya is similar to a convenience store. International examples of retailers who operate convenience stores include 7-eleven, Circle K, Albert Heijn and SPAR.
Retail Snapshot focuses on Spencer’s Express:
A chain of convenience stores in India
Spencer’s retail offers the complete gamut of products & durables ranging from bread to bed covers and covers, from toothpaste to television. Spencer’s is a part of RPG Enterprises, which is one of India’s largest business groups, having business interest in retail technology entertainment, power and transmission, tires, life sciences and specialties.
RPG entered the retail sector in 1996 (before the imposition of FDI restrictions) by setting up the Food world Supermarkets in collaboration with Dairy Farm International. Then, in 1996–97, it started retailing music and health and beauty products through its chain stores music worlds and Health & Glow, respectively. In 2001 the company commenced its hyper market business with the Giant fascia. Recently the group split from Dairy Farm International. After the split, the health and beauty chain, Health & Glow and a part of Food World that is, the brand and a few stores will go to dairy frame International, RPG will retain a few stores of Food world, the chain Music world (MW) and the Giant hypermarkets, which have been renamed as Spencer’s.
The company operates 350 stores under the Spencer’s brand name, across 50 cities in the country. The Spencer Express stores are neighborhood stores, spanning across 1,000 square feet and are the smallest among the food and grocery formats. The format is a convenience store and the size typically is a 1,000 square feet. The product range covers basis requirements in food and grocery and fresh produce like fruits, vegetables and milk. As of December 2007, the company operated 93 stores in this format.
The Spencer’s Daily have a trading area of 2000 to 7000 sq fit and stock groceries fresh food frozen products etc. As of December 2007, the company operated 143 stores in this format.