labels: marketing - general
Kendriya Bhandar has growth plan in store news
Mohini Bhatnagar
18 September 2002

New Delhi: Kendriya Bhandar (, the profit-making consumer cooperative, has drawn up a blueprint for growth and expansion by opening more stores.

The plan also envisages the Bhandar offering its customers a better shopping experience through improved ambience in the stores and expanding the range of products it has to offer.

The cooperative is improving the internal layout of its stores, to give customers a more enjoyable shopping experience. Hence, the entire chain is being classified into gold, silver and copper standard stores, the classification being dependent on the amenities, goods and ambience each store offers.

The cooperative, which retails consumer goods, groceries, stationery, office equipment and furniture, reported a turnover of Rs 261.6 crore during 2001-02. The Kendriya Bhandar consumer cooperative stores have grown from just one store in 1963 to the present 119.

Set up in 1963 as a welfare project of the government for the benefit of central government employees, their families and other customers, its objectives were to provide essential commodities of daily needs to customers at reasonable prices and to assist the government in holding the price line and ensure distribution of scarce commodities at controlled prices.

Kendriya Bhandar has the distinction of being the largest consumer cooperative society in India in terms of membership. It has more than 77,000 members, inclusive of associate members.

Much of the change imminent in the Kendriya Bhandars is due to the efforts of Minister for Small-scale Industries and Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions Vasundhara Raje.

A recent survey conducted by Kendriya Bhandar reported that about 48 per cent of the consumers of the store were state and central government employees, who in effect constitute just around 1 per cent of the total population of the country.

The ministry then realised that there is the vast untapped corporate sector, which presents a great potential for the Kendriya Bhandars to leverage its national network and improve its share of non-governmental business.

But the face of retailing in the metros and mini-metros is changing and more and more shopping malls with their swank air-conditioned ambience are taking the place of shabby and small mom-and-pop stores.

Needless to say this has changed consumer perceptions about what shopping should be all about. This may well be among the main reasons the ministry feels that the Kendriya Bhandars could do with an overhaul.

Government officials say around Rs 80 lakh will be spent on doing up eight stores in Delhi alone. If Raje gets her way further, the Indian version of the American $1 stores where any of the goods stocked cost $1 or less may also come to India.

For the time being, however, the first version of such a store the Kendriya Bhandar at Netaji Nagar in Delhi will open its door to customers on 19 September 2002.

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Kendriya Bhandar has growth plan in store