Our Retail field staff conducted a survey in Mumbai-Navi Mumbai (Bombay-New Bombay) focusing on only three large chains: Food Bazaar (part of Future Group owned Pantaloon Retail), Reliance Fresh and Subhiksha, in addition to some local/ regional players. They visited a total of nearly 50 outlets to ensure that the results were not skewed by one or two store locations.
Product Quality and Variety:
- Food Bazaar is a clear winner amongst its peers and offers a wider product range (with different variants) across almost all the segments like FMCG, staples, F&V etc. On account of its limited product offerings and frequent stock outs, Subhiksha lags behind both in terms of product lines as well as product depth.
- Food Bazaar sources vegetables through its shop-in-shop model, wherein the inventory procurement, display, and maintenance are outsourced to the vendor, who in turn, pays a certain commission (as a percentage of revenues), to Food Bazaar.
- Unlike Reliance Fresh and Food Bazaar, Subhiksha does not provide any refrigeration facility at its stores, which results in comparatively lower quality vegetables and fruits. We believe that such frequent stock outs, coupled with low-quality, limited product offerings may have an adverse impact on Subhiksha’s footfalls
Product Display & Pricing:
- Food Bazaar leads in terms of product display at its stores, due to its clear sectional marking and displays. However, Reliance Fresh is ahead in terms of pricing, especially due to its integrated back end operations and better sourcing, as compared to Food Bazaar
- Almost all the staples in Food Bazaar were under the company’s private labels. However there was not much private label offerings in the FMCG segment. Also, there was a reasonable private labels presence in snacks/ ready-to-eat foods (chips, beans, juices etc)
- Reliance Fresh focuses more on its private labels, which it pushes more. aggressively by offering attractive schemes to its customers. Subhiksha has limited product variety and we found that some items in our product category list were not available at all. Such limited product variety plus very frequent stock outs are adding to the displeasure of its customers.
The Service Experience:
- Unlike any other retail store, Reliance Fresh employees are very forthcoming and helpful in addressing customer-specific requirements. Moreover, its employees also appear very keen to help customers and push the company’s private labels.
- Food Bazaar stands out in terms of store display, cleanliness, display quality, and the overall upkeep of its stores, thus providing a pleasant ‘shopping’ experience to the consumers. Food Bazaar has different entry and exit doors and a number of billing counters, which helps it manage customer traffic and cut down the billing time at its stores.