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Interview: Kishore Biyani, CEO, Future Group

India’s retail king talks about the ten-year-old journey of Big Bazaar and shares the agenda ahead based on the philosophy of rediscovering oneself all over again

Neha Saraiya & Surbhi Chawla | Delhi | January 18, 2012

Kishore Biyani is best known for bringing in the great Indian retail revolution. What’s more, he has consistently gone against conventional wisdom and charted his own course to make Pantaloon Retail one of the fastest growing retail chains in not just India but even the world. The company recently launched a campaign celebrating ten years of Big Bazaar, part of Pantaloon Retail. The touching campaign not only celebrated the success that the retail chain has seen over the years but also tried to connect with its customer base by saying sorry and thank you in the same breath.

BestMediaInfo caught up with Kishore Biyani, Group CEO, Future Group, on the sidelines of an event to quiz him on his retail journey and what more can be expected from this retail chain going forward. Excerpts:

How has the decade-long journey been of Big Bazaar?

The Big Bazaar journey has been fabulous for us. I think it feels good that we did 150 stores in these ten years. It has been the most interesting stretch for us so far. In terms of growth, we are the fastest growing chain. Probably we are the first hypermarket chain in the world that set up 100 stores in just seven years of its existence. In that sense, it feels great. In fact, we were a part of the changing India. So, whenever the topic of modern India will be touched upon, Big Bazaar too would be remembered in the same breath.

What according to you is the key learning from this decade-old journey that you will be taking forward to the next decade?

As a retailer, I think it is all about consumers and change. The idea was always to look at how as a retailer we can bring a change in the consumer’s home and that according to me was the most gratifying thing.

After ten years, what are the changes that you have bought about in your strategy?

I think the consumers want more from us now. This means we need to change ourselves. We have grown old and thus need to change ourselves to keep track with the times and continue to delight our customers in every manner possible.

As part of your Big Bazaar tenth anniversary celebration, the retail chain came up with a new campaign along with a revamped logo and tagline. What’s the idea behind it?

I think it’s an event where you look back and say sorry for any mistakes that you have made in the past and thank the customers for their love and support. Also, it is about starting all over again. It’s a process of destroying oneself and creating oneself again.

How much are the in-house brands of Big Bazaar contributing to the overall sales pie of the chain?

The in-house brands of Big Bazaar have being doing extremely well for us. It’s almost unbelievable the kind of response that we have received for them so far. As a retail chain, that has been a very positive thing for us. We believe in our brands, they have been doing phenomenally well for us so far. And, as we move forward they will continue to play an important role in our growth. Whenever we have introduced an in-house brand in a category, they have garnered a minimum share of 30 per cent in that category. Some of these brands are already touching 50 per cent share. I consider ourselves lucky that whatever we have launched has been successful so far.

Initially, we did make a few mistakes, but in the last 3-4 years whatever we have launched has worked well for us. Like recently, we launched a Disney cream wafer biscuit, Tasty Treat, and it has already gained 40 per cent share and that too in a category that is difficult to crack.

Big Bazaar played a big role in starting the shopping culture in India and has also introduced the concept of “special” days to lure shoppers, like “Wednesday – Hafte ka Sabse Sasta Din”. Or for that matter, having special shopping days around national holidays like Republic Day and Independence Day. What more and new can we expect from you in this regard?

We were quick to recognise that that is the way India is. We will now have to work even more on this now and look at new opportunities through more innovative means.

You have three main brands under your umbrella – Big Bazaar, Pantaloons and KB’s Fair Price. How do you manage to keep a differentiated positioning for each of them?

To start with, KB’s Fair Price is positioned for the urban poor while Big Bazaar is an aspirational brand targeted mainly at the middle class, and Pantaloon is an apparel chain. That’s the way we have positioned them.

And how do you see all these three brands going forward?

The consumer of today is changing and we too will keep changing with their needs and wants. Our job is to sell what the consumer wants.

Recently, there has been talk of allowing FDI in retail. How do see the retail industry shaping up post FDI?

For now we are playing the waiting game… Let’s see when FDI comes in.

How do you deal with competition, especially from international giants?

Competition is good for any industry and it has always been there. Nobody is going hungry in this country; everybody is getting what they want.

Neha@BestMediaInfo.com / Surbhi@BestMediaInfo.com

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  • AKANSHA BASAL

    the article is awesum. it is very important for us now a days to know about retail.
    if indian retail chain is ready for FDI in retail chain so i think in my opinion everybody must accept it..

AKANSHA BASAL / January 19, 2012,06:23 PM UTC

the article is awesum. it is very important for us now a days to know about retail.
if indian retail chain is ready for FDI in retail chain so i think in my opinion everybody must accept it..

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