Apna Bazaar Co-operative additional general manager Mahesh Kambli said having Apna Bazaar outlets at HP petrol pumps is a new channel which the co-operative is pursuing to expand its presence in the city and eventually nationally. The tie-up with HPCL is a pilot project, where initially we have opened Apna Bazaar outlets at three petrol pumps. Depending on the success of the initial launch, we will take it to other outlets in Mumbai, said Mr Kambli. The first three Apna Bazaar outlets have come up at Cadell Road, Deonar and Nerul with subsequent forays being planned in the Mumbai regioncomprising Greater Mumbai, Navi Mumbai and Thane.
For Apna Bazaar, the tie-up forms a tactical move to first increase its presence in the city and then acquire a more upmarket image by increasing the canvas. The attempt is to enlarge the consumer base by setting up convenient stores at petrol pumps. We are looking to target the upper-end segment of the consumer base, who own vehicles and would like to shop for daily household needs at the petrol outlets, said Mr Kambli.
Other than expansion with HPCL, Apna Bazaar has plans to increase its outlets from 81 to 100 next year in Mumbai, parts of Maharashtra, Goa and the Konkan region. The formats comprise department stores, supermarkets, franchisee outlets and medical stores.
The co-operative, which clocked sales of Rs 165 crore for the financial year ended March 2003, is looking to touch Rs 175 crore for the financial year ending 2004.
On the tie-up, a senior HPCL official said the move was made keeping in mind the objective of providing allied services other than fuelling at its petrol outlets under the concept of Club HP. The company, therefore, is looking to provide a wide gamut of services at HP Speed Mart. Under one umbrella, we are attempting to meet the day-to-day needs of our customers who drive in for fuel at our petrol pumps. The tie-up with Apna Bazaar is one such step, said the official.
For convenient stores, HPCL already has a tie-up with Akbarallys, Apna Bazaar will be the second such tie-up. Apna Bazaar offers the price point and value proposition which will be a definite plus in our efforts to provide increased range of allied services at the outlets, said the official.
Increasingly, companies like Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL), Indian Oil and HPCL have realised the importance of offering a plethora of services apart from fuelling at petrol pumps to woo customers. Therefore, convenience stores, ice-cream parlours, coffee shops and even courier services form part of the offering. This comes with tie-ups with other retail formats, which are also looking at different channels to reach out to customers.