We already have over a Million sqft and plan to keep growing at 30% or more each year: Rajeev Krishnan

In an exclusive interview with Rajeev Krishnan MD and CEO, SPAR India/Max Hypermarkets highlights the brand's growth strategy.
We already have over a Million sqft and plan to keep growing at 30% or more each year: Rajeev Krishn

How do you assess the market of organized grocery and house hold items in India? How do you see this market will grow in next five years? What would be the share of SPAR Hypermarket in overall market?

We are very excited about the continued growth of the organized Grocery and Household categories in India. There are multiple inflection points that are happening for the consumer, the manufacturers, and the retailers at a furious pace. This is creating a plethora of incredibly interesting consumption and retailing opportunities that will continue to excite and engage customers in numerous ways.

Lifestyles, aspirations, smaller families, working families, traffic, eating habits, cuisine choices etc. have all made these categories very intriguing and fun. Kids are playing a big role in some of the decision making in these categories because of their own mind space and reach.

At SPAR we are going to invest a lot of our energy and focus in ensuring we can collaborate with our vendor partners in these categories and co-create/ support innovation, so that we can become the hypermarket of choice for our customers.

We have recently rolled out www.sparindia.com as our foray in the e-space. A lot of key technology partners are engaged with in exploring this space and we hope to continue to lead with innovation. This is something we also believe is going to shape the market in India.

Kindly throw light on your current retail spread? How you are planning to increase the store count?

We are celebrating our first decade of having opened the first store in Bangalore in 2007, and currently operate 18 stores across Bengaluru, Mangalore, Coimbatore, Hyderabad, Delhi, Ghaziabad, Gurgaon, Chennai and Pune. The average store size being less than 50,000 sft, and looks at offering a wholesome assortment covering Fresh Produce, Fish & Meat, Staples, Consumer Packaged Goods, Home and Living products and more.

Our growth is clearly driven both by our customer understanding of the markets we are in and the customer’s loyalty and love for us. We will continue to grow and expand in and around those markets so that we continue to deliver a better experience to our customers. We already have over a Million sqft and plan to keep growing at 30% or more each year. We are exploring and innovating specifically around different formats, omni channel and technology to see how we can grow smarter and faster. 

Presently, how many categories are being retailed via your stores? Which category seems to be churning better results for you? What are the plans to enhance the category?

Our understanding of the different demographics we are in, the diversity of the markets and the geographical locations will continue to help us decide what categories we are in, where we want to expand and where we want to innovate. We are present in every major as well as potential categories that customers would expect in Grocery and Household needs. The beauty of India is that flexibility and openness to learn and be fluid, will make different categories play different roles in different places.Food and Grocery, Fresh Categories, FMCG, Home Furnishings and Home ware, General Merchandise and Apparel are the key categories around which we have been built over the years. 


What is your strategy on private labels? In how many categories you do private labels? Kindly also mention the percentage of sales generated via private labels? Do you plan to launch any new private label( across the categories) in near future?

 While private label always has been a key driver of our business, it will be one of the strategic pillars ofour future growth and innovation. We will explore and identify new areas to excite the customer andensure that we deliver on our promise of Great Quality and Great Value, and thereby win Trust. While our growth has been strong and in double digits, the years ahead will showcase SPAR as one of the leaders in the development and innovation of Private label in India.

At SPAR, we have a ready wide range of products in categories namely, Staple foods, Bakery, Fresh produce, Organic, Home Furnishing, General Merchandise, Breakfast Cereals, Home Hygiene, Home Needs, Fabric Care, Beverages, Paper Products, Puja Needs, Disposables, Snack, Ready & Prepared Foods, and a few Personal Care products as well.

 How you are leveraging from emerging channel of e-commerce? Any plans to have dedicated e-commerce portal?

 We are excited to have rolled out sparindia.com, our E commerce portal and are tremendously excited about the current growth and traction we are getting. While still in its early stage, we see a huge opportunity for this vertical to be a strategic driver of our SPAR stores overall growth. While we are not looking to compete with all the players in the hypermarket space with our Ecommerce channel, we do intend to build a very strong, innovative, and creative set of OMNI CHANNELS in the next few years.

We believe that India still has and needs both BRICK and CLICK to co-exist.  With the brand connect and loyalty at our SPAR stores being our differentiator, we intend to use merchandising and technology as the strategic pillars to continuously offer OMNI retailing opportunities as never seen before through strong and innovative partnerships across the different retail verticals.

Rajeev Krishnan