Business Opportunities in India
Kendriya Bhandar stores: retaining customers through discounts
Date of posting: 18-12-08
      In India, people are experiencing a sudden growth of retail chains, providing quality and quantity of grocery, consumer and household items. However, the pioneer in this sector is Kendriya Bhandar, also known as Central Govt. Employees Consumer Cooperative Society Ltd. This cooperative is in operation already since 1963. It’s introduction more than four decades back gave people the power of choice under one roof, as almost everything is available at pocket friendly prices. It caters mainly to Delhi/ NCR, as it’s under the aegis of the Central Govt. of India.

      In this region Delhi and NCR, Kendriya Bhandar has 80 stores which are located at convenient locations. Kendriya Bhandar is active in such business segments like retailing and institutional sales of grocery, consumer and household items, as well as stationery products and office equipment and medicines. As food items, there are only vegetarian products sold. A large variety of branded products are available. Quality standards are normally supposed to be higher than those demanded by PFA (Prevention of Food Adulteration Act). Products pass through stringent laboratory testing.

      Being a Welfare organization, items are sold at a subsidized price, which gives the customer a discount of about Rs 1-3 on every item. Implementation of a subsidy and it’s amount completely rests on the retail chain’s governing body and has the prerogative to exercise accordingly.

      That all is the background and basis on which Kendriya Bhandar operates in the modern times of growing competition, but for M. N. Bhatnagar, Sr. Purchase Officer in the corporate office, who is a graduate and a diploma holder in marketing management, Kendriya Bhandar is very well established with its customers. “Kendriya Bhandar is the oldest and one of its kind super market which gives people variety at nominal rates”, Bhatnagar says. “There may be well equipped new super-markets among our competitors that have come up, but Kendriya Bhandar still holds ground on it’s customers, who have faith in their purchases here”, he adds. Bhatnagar takes pride in working for Kendriya Bhandar for which he has been serving for more than 40 years.

      Based on the account of an FII-survey of around 15 stores, it seems that Kendriya Bhandar has been able to maintain competitive prices for the various products sold by it, as compared to those prevailing in the market. As the retail chain is the oldest of it’s form and is under the umbrella of Central Govt., it enjoys the confidence reposed by it’s customers, who are happy to be associated with the forty six year old retailing legacy. It would be interesting to see, whether the trend would prevail in the future or whether it would differ.

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