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Birla has more to offer

Birla has more to offer

Author | Source: The Economic Times | Saturday, May 19,2007 9:26 AM

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Birla has more to offer

MUMBAI: After months of speculation, the Aditya Birla group on Friday unveiled its retail store brand, More, which will be launched as a mix of supermarket and hypermarket formats across the country.

The first store will be opened in Pune next month, kicking off the metals-to-telecom conglomerate's pitch to grab a pie of the $300 billion retail market. Group chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla said he expects to spend about Rs 8,000 crore to Rs 9,000 crore for its retail operations, most coming from unlisted companies.

The initiative will be funded through a mixture of debt and equity, he said. Pune is a representative area with a combination of all the elements of our target markets, said Sumant Sinha, CEO of Aditya Birla Retail.

While the average supermarkets would have a floor size of 10,000 sq ft, the hypermarkets would be larger than 75,000 sq ft. The recently acquired south-based grocery chain, Trinethra, will also be renamed More once all the back-end operations are in place. Trinethra has over 500,000 sq ft of retail space through 170 stores, and has given the group a leading edge in southern India, Mr Birla said.

The move has also raised Aditya Birla Retail's employee base to 4,000. “The retail business would have about 5,000 employees in three to four years,” said Mr Sinha. Shopping patterns across cities were studied with the help of consultants such as Technopak, AT Kearney, McKinsey.

Retail experts from emerging markets have been hired to develop the formats. Expats hired recently include Andrew Denby, who was formerly with A S Watson in the Philippines, and is incharge of supermarkets.

The hypermarkets chain would be managed by Russell Berman, who was earlier with Carrefour in China. The group is also learnt to have recruited people from competitors; Sanjay Badhe from Shopper's Stop joined the group nine months ago to head the retail unit's marketing operations.

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