ITC Ltd plans to launch its rural hypermarkets under the Choupal Saagars brand, in a smaller format.
The idea is to boost its presence in the rural markets. Trimming the store size will enable ITC to penetrate small towns where finding big plots to build rural malls can be difficult.
The company already has 24 hypermarkets, each spread across 10,000 sq. ft, offering multiple products and services, ranging from clothing and electronics to soil testing, under one roof. Now, the company plans to set up stores just half this size.
Rajnish Kumar, category manager, ITC said that Indian companies are scaling up their presence in villages and towns as the rural consumer's purchasing power improves and brand consciousness increases.
"Though we have enough land bank in rural areas and villages, to set up a hypermarket in a 10,000 sq. ft area in the middle of a town is difficult,'' Kumar added.
Opening smaller Choupal Saagars will also bring down the company's operational costs. ''Staff, maintenance, depreciation and other operational costs would also go down substantially,'' Kumar added. He did not specify the number of smaller hubs that are likely to come up though the company has plans to double the number of Choupal Saagars which are currently operational in Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh. ''We intend to enter other states, too.''