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Flipkart to boost Make-in-India' with grocery and recharged furniture stores

21 November 2016

Flipkart will be entering the `Make-in-India' bandwagon next year with the launch of grocery retail trade and an expanded furniture business as the home-grown e-marketplace looks for growth in India's highly competitive online retail space.

Flipkart, which already sells some niche products and private labels, is now reportedly going to focus on groceries and furniture a move seen as aimed at both rival mult-brand e-tailers and single-brand retailers.

Also, as Sachin Bansal said in a joint interview with Binny Bansal, Flipkart is still a start-up and has miles to go before it is fully grown and can compare with global leaders.

''Flipkart is not the whole world, there are things happening in healthcare and education that one can learn a lot from and help Flipkart,'' Sachin said during an interview.

The immediate plan is to build a profitable grocery business where it could face stiff competition from existing players like BigBasket as well as local brick-and-mortar retailers. Amazon India has already started its pilot project which focuses on delivery of groceries.

As Flipkart chairman and CEO Binny Bansal stated during an interview with Reuters, making grocery business profitable may be a hard task for organised e-tailers, it is not an impossible thing.

The plan is to start experimenting with grocery space from next year and scale up operations over the coming three years, Binny was quoted as saying during the interview.

Flipkart is in the process of building a team for the India-made private label initiative, which will be incubated under the Flipkart Group, reports quoted sources close to the development as saying.

While BigBasket has been doing extremely well for a long time, several smaller startups in this segment had shut down, despite raising significant rounds from big shot investors.

It will depend on the strategy Flipkart adopts and the time that Flipkart chooses for the new endeavour.

As of now, Flipkart claims that fashion will remain its best-selling category for the next few years. With two major online fashion portals and more than 15 million monthly active users, Flipkart has now a better hold on the online fashion and lifestyle segment.

Yet, Binny sees online groceries as having the potential to grow as big as fashion and electronics in the next six to eight years.

Filipkart also sees great prospects in its furniture business. And, unlike grocery, furniture is also not perishable in the short run. Niche stores such as Pepperfry and Urban Ladder or even Ikea need not pose any challenge as there is ample scope for innovation in this segment.

Flipkart is expected to relaunch a revamped furniture store in the coming months, with more selections and better service, says Binny Bansal.

Flipkart bought Myntra in 2014 and earlier this year, it acquired struggling fashion and lifestyle portal Jabong for $70 million.

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