Re­tailer

The devel­op­ment of an In­ter­na­tional airport has fu­elled a modern re­tail boom in this coastal district of Ker­ala with lo­cal re­tail­ers mod­ern­iz­ing their for­mats to of­fer a more whole­some and de­light­ful shop­ping ex­pe­ri­ence.

Progressive Grocer (India) - - Front Page - By Roshna Chan­dran Stone­bridge

Greens Hyper­mar­ket typ­i­fies the re­tail boom in Kan­nur, Ker­ala

Kan­nur, in Ker­ala, is en­joy­ing its hey­day of re­tail boom af­ter long years of rel­a­tive ob­scu­rity. Lo­cated in Ker­ala’s north­ern coast, Kan­nur was once an an­cient trad­ing port bristling with In­ter­na­tional trade and known as a great em­po­rium of spice trade. How­ever, along the way, the city lost its halo as a thriv­ing cen­tre of com­merce and the man­tle passed down to mag­nets emerg­ing along the State’s south­ern coast – Thiruvananthapuram, Alleppey, Kochi, Kol­lam, Kasar­god, Kot­tayam and Kozhikode. Th­ese cities shot into the public ken for their touristy ap­peal and other at­trac­tions.

But in re­cent years, Kan­nur has been wit­ness­ing a turn in for­tunes. An In­ter­na­tional airport – Ker­ala’s sec­ond green­field airport to come up in public-pri­vate part­ner­ship mode – is on its way and sched­uled for com­mis­sion­ing by Septem­ber this year. The prized in­fra­struc­ture devel­op­ment has brought in its wake a swirl of other com­mer­cial and real es­tate ac­tiv­i­ties. Most notably, Kan­nur has be­come the epi­cen­tre of a re­tail boom with a sud­den spurt in swanky shops and stores open­ing up with metro­nomic reg­u­lar­ity.

Ac­cord­ing to Muneer Mat­tool, Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor at Kan­nur’s Greens Hyper­mar­ket, the change in the city’s re­tail land­scape has been dra­matic. “There is a siz­able pop­u­la­tion in the city com­pris­ing ex­pats from the Gulf coun­tries and so it did not take long for peo­ple to adapt to modern, or­ga­nized re­tail.” He says that busi­ness in Kan­nur to­day out­per­forms those in the neigh­bor­ing dis­tricts. “Re­tail sales in Kan­nur are a lot higher in com­par­i­son to Kozhikode (Cali­cut), about 90 km away. Also, un­like its neigh­bor­ing dis­tricts, Kan­nur has a higher num­ber of women shop­pers and those seek­ing a more modern shop­ping ex­pe­ri­ence.”

As Kan­nur’s re­tail trans­for­ma­tion con­tin­ues un­abated, Greens Hyper­mar­ket stands out as an en­dur­ing shop­ping icon. But for its pro­moter Muneer, the ven­ture into re­tail was not smooth sail­ing in the be­gin­ning. His first brush with re­tail was when he joined the Mar­gin Free store in 1997 as its Di­rec­tor of North Mal­abar. The en­ter­prise op­er­ated un­der a fran­chise model but failed to haul in ap­pre­cia­ble prof­its and had to be shut down. Mak­ing a bold gam­bit of his ex­pe­ri­ence in re­tail, Muneer launched Greens Hyper­mar­ket in 2001 by tak­ing up a 3,500 square feet area near the RTO at Fort Road. “We started with 5,000 SKUS and were able to man­age an an­nual growth rate of 25%,” says Muneer.

Dur­ing the early years of busi­ness, Muneer’s big­gest con­cern was to gain con­sumer trust. To win cus­tomer loy­alty, he in­tro­duced an ef­fec­tive card sys­tem for re­deem­ing points against any pur­chase made at the store. On its part, the card proved to be a valu­able tool for pro­vid­ing ac­cu­rate data of place­wise sales as well as lo­ca­tion-wise high-end sales. By an­a­lyz­ing and in­ter­pret­ing the data gen­er­ated from sales, Muneer crafted spe­cial of­fers and schemes for cus­tomers, which helped bring in more busi­ness for the store. “We started out by of­fer­ing bonus points dur­ing fes­ti­vals like Onam, and the strat­egy turned out to be a big hit. This helped in gain­ing the cus­tomer’s trust,” he says.

Thanks to his re­tail­ing nous and cus­tomer­centric approach, Muneer has been suc­cess­ful in ex­pand­ing the foot­print of Greens Hyper­mar­ket be­yond Kan­nur. The en­ter­prise to­day boasts of 13 stores with branches in Kan­nur, Cali­cut, Wayanad and Eranaku­lam and en­com­passes a prod­uct range ex­tend­ing to over 25,000 stock keep­ing units. With an an­nual growth rate of 10-15%, Greens Hyper­mar­ket model is known for its mall-at­tached for­mat and for lever­ag­ing a large num­ber of walk-ins from in and around com­mer­cial hubs.

But like ev­ery suc­cess­ful ven­ture, there have been plenty of chal­lenges to over­come along the way. At­tri­tion rates in the sec­tor pose a big chal­lenge for re­tail­ers and Muneer has been try­ing to bat­tle it by of­fer­ing bet­ter fa­cil­i­ties to his peo­ple. “Apart from the chal­lenges of re­tain­ing the team, there are is­sues re­lated to scarcity of trained la­bor, man­age­ment and main­te­nance of in­ven­tory and the chal­lenge of plug­ging leak­ages and thefts,” points out Muneer, who is now plan­ning to open a cou­ple of stand­alone stores while keep­ing Kan­nur and Cali­cut his pri­mary lo­ca­tions.

Thanks to his re­tail­ing nous and cus­tomer­centric approach, Muneer has been suc­cess­ful in ex­pand­ing the foot­print of Greens Hyper­mar­ket be­yond Kan­nur. The en­ter­prise to­day boasts of 13 stores with branches in Kan­nur, Cali­cut, Wayanad and Eranaku­lam and en­com­passes a prod­uct range ex­tend­ing to over 25,000 stock keep­ing units.

Muneer Mat­tool MD, Kan­nur’s Greens Hyper­mar­ket

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India

© PressReader. All rights reserved.