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Big Bazaar

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Pantaloon Retail (India) Limited, No.18/1 (Old No. 125/A) 10th Main, Ashoka Pillar
Bangalore, 560011 Other Outlets Tel 1: 91 80 6658 8600
Contact: Click here

Future Group
Future Group, led by its founder and Group CEO, Mr. Kishore Biyani, is one of India’s
leading business houses with multiple businesses spanning across the consumption space.
While retail forms the core business activity of Future Group, group subsidiaries are present
in consumer finance, capital, insurance, leisure and entertainment, brand development, retail
real estate development, retail media and logistics.

Led by its flagship enterprise, Pantaloon Retail, the group operates over 12 million square
feet of retail space in 71 cities and towns and 65 rural locations across India. Headquartered
in Mumbai (Bombay), Pantaloon Retail employs around 30,000 people and is listed on the
Indian stock exchanges. The company follows a multi-format retail strategy that captures
almost the entire consumption basket of Indian customers. In the lifestyle segment, the group
operates Pantaloons, a fashion retail chain and Central, a chain of seamless malls. In the value
segment, its marquee brand, Big Bazaar is a hypermarket format that combines the look,
touch and feel of Indian bazaars with the choice and convenience of modern retail.

In 2008, Big Bazaar opened its 100th store, marking the fastest ever organic expansion of a
hypermarket. The first set of Big Bazaar stores opened in 2001 in Kolkata, Hyderabad and

The group’s specialty retail formats include, books and music chain, Depot, sportswear
retailer, Planet Sports, electronics retailer, Ezone, home improvement chain, Home Town and
rural retail chain, Aadhar, among others. It also operates popular shopping portal,

Future Capital Holdings, the group’s financial arm provides investment advisory to assets
worth over $1 billion that are being invested in consumer brands and companies, real estate,
hotels and logistics. It also operates a consumer finance arm with branches in 150 locations.

Other group companies include, Future Generali, the group’s insurance venture in partnership
with Italy’s Generali Group, Future Brands, a brand development and IPR company, Future
Logistics, providing logistics and distribution solutions to group companies and business
partners and Future Media, a retail media initiative.

The group’s presence in Leisure & Entertainment segment is led through, Mumbai-based
listed company Galaxy Entertainment Limited. Galaxy leading leisure chains, Sports Bar and
Bowling Co. and family entertainment centre’s, F123. Through its partner company, Blue
Foods the group operates around 100 restaurants and food courts through brands like Bombay
Blues, Spaghetti Kitchen, Noodle Bar, The Spoon, Copper Chimney and Gelato.

Future Group’s joint venture partners include, US-based stationery products retailer, Staples
and Middle East-based Axiom Communications.

The group’s flagship company, Pantaloon Retail was awarded the International Retailer of
the Year 2007, by the US-based National Retail Federation, the largest retail trade association
and the the Emerging Market Retailer of the Year 2007 at the World Retail Congress in

Future Group believes in developing strong insights on Indian consumers and building
businesses based on Indian ideas, as espoused in the group’s core value of ‘Indianness.’ The
group’s corporate credo is, ‘Rewrite rules, Retain values.’
Big Bazaar is not just another hypermarket. It caters to every need of your family. Where Big
Bazaar scores over other stores is its value for money proposition for the Indian customers.
At Big Bazaar, you will definitely get the best products at the best prices - that’s what we
guarantee. With the ever increasing array of private labels, it has opened the doors into the
world of fashion and general merchandise including home furnishings, utensils, crockery,
cutlery, sports goods and much more at prices that will surprise you. And this is just the
beginning. Big Bazaar plans to add much more to complete your shopping experience.

A couple of days ago, Future Bazaar announced its invitation to agencies to pitch a promotion
strategy to take Future Bazaar to the broader urban mass beyond the Internet audience.
Business standard quoted Sankarson Banerjee, CEO of Future Bazaar, “We are looking for a
dynamic partner to help us fundamentally change the way India shops. We have already
successfully enhanced individual customer interactions through our new technology platform.
With added innovation in marketing, we can transform the consumer experience and
revolutionize the retail landscape”. It may seem tall claims and jazzy PR on the outside, but I
think there is a lot more to it than what meets the eye.
If we break the whole quote into parts, what comes out is strong road map for the growth
not just for Future Bazaar but Internet shopping in general in India.
“…Help us fundamentally change the way India shops”
The IAMAI report on Internet shopping shows that online shopping is an Rs.8000 Crore
industry. So does that mean India is already on it’s way and this initiative from FB won’t be
fundamentally altering the landscape?
Not really, FB still has scope to back it’s claim because, 7000, out of the Rs.8000 Crore in
question is in the travel and tourism sector. That drawfs the product and services sector by a
mammoth 6000 Crores. Compare this to the US where this sector commands 40% of the
market share and we are indeed looking at a project that can fundamentally change the way
India shops. And if you see the crowds at Big Bazaar every Wednesday, it won’t leave much
doubt in the mind that the future group is best equipped to lead this shift.
“…With added innovation in marketing”
While this isn’t claiming that technological development in E-commerce sites will be
dormant with focus purely on marketing, it wouldn’t be wrong to assume that technological
innovation has reached a plateau.
And the next climb or growth ladder depends on improving the scale of users of
Internet and catering to their demands. And to my mind, this is exactly what this initiative
aims at. I don’t want this post to seem like a marketing plug for Future Bazaar, but I have
been waiting for someone to take such an initiative to take the web to the masses instead of
waiting for them to become net savvy.
Anyway, let us come back to Sankarson’s quote about innovation in marketing. If we agree
on my point that technology has to grow flat at the moment and needs a wider user base to
jump the next level, then marketing is where the work has to be put in. And the onus in this
case falls on the ad agencies whom the group has invited to come up to the challenge.
What makes this a big responsibility on their shoulders is the fact that it’s effect will be seen
in how the Internet shopping industry grows in India in general. The target audience for this
campaign would be most probably be testing waters of online buying for the first time, and a
bad experience with money can send them two steps behind where they are right now in terms
of adapting to the medium.
Like I mentioned yesterday in a comment to my post on Media as a Service, such innovation
has to be built by brands who already have an appeal. So therefore, the industry would be
better off with someone like a Future Bazaar doing it than an upstart.
On the other hand the upstarts can leverage on this initiative by targeting the converts when
they get converted.
And this is where social media plays a vital cog
What this initiative does is bring in a set of audience who are naive about how Internet as a
medium works in general. And to top it they are now looking at spending money on the
Internet without the skepticism earlier and are keen on learning. This is sort of the perfect
mix that any marketer would look for.
The mix of audience is such that they would hang out on social sites, they are new so they are
more open to experimenting and they come with an undeniable human tendency of thinking
they know something that others don’t. This is where Ecom marketers can cash in and
provide an alternative to Future Bazaar through niche targeting. Of course if someone wants
to be ready for it you can always go over to WATConsult [now that is a marketing plug.. ]
A Case Study in the Making
Now because it is future bazaar, and because it is the most creative minds at work on a
campaign that can alter retailing in India, this is a strong case in the making. What they do
right, what they do wrong, and how whatever they do opens up a gamut of opportunities for
others to open. Let us wait and see how they go about bringing “others” into our world.

Pantaloon: ERP in retail

Needing an organisation-wide IT solution to help it perform better,
Pantaloon decided to implement an ERP system from SAP. By Kushal Shah
More than eight years after it forayed into the
retail business, Pantaloon Retail decided to
implement SAP to keep itself competitive in
the rapidly growing Indian retail market.

Store operations have never

been as important to retailers
as they are now. Successful
retailers are those who know
that the battle for customers
is only won at the frontline,
which in the case of a retail Rakesh Biyani
chain is at its stores.
Pantaloon was regularly
opening stores in the metros and there was an urgent need for a reliable
enterprise wide application to help run its business effectively. “The basic
need was to have a robust transaction management system and an
enterprise wide platform to run the operations,” says Rakesh Biyani,
Director, Pantaloon. The company was looking for a solution that would
bring all of its businesses and processes together. After a comprehensive
evaluation of different options and software companies, the management at
Pantaloon decided to go in for SAP.
The Solution
Some of the qualities of SAP retail solutions are that it supports product
development, which includes ideation, trend analysis, and collaboration with
partners in the supply chain; sourcing and procurement, which involves
working with manufacturers to fulfil orders according to strategic
merchandising plans and optimise cost, quality, and speed–variables that
must be weighted differently as business needs, buying plans, and market
demand patterns change; managing the supply chain, which involves
handling the logistics of moving finished goods from the source into stores
and overseeing global trade and procurement requirements; selling goods
across a variety of channels to customers, which requires marketing and
brand management; managing mark-downs and capturing customer
reactions, analysing data, and using it to optimise the next phase of the
design process.

In a Nutshell

Aim To deploy a robust transaction

management system and an enterprise-
wide platform to run its operations.

Solution SAP retail solution

Implemented by SAP team with the help of Novasoft,


Number of users Around 1,200

Time taken About six months

Cost of implementation About $10 million

The implementation

“The implementation was outsourced to a third party. The

implementation was done by the SAP team with help of Chinar
Novasoft which is based out of Singapore,” says Biyani. Deshpande

Some people from Pantaloon also assisted in the project.

About 24 qualified people worked on this SAP
implementation. SAP was chosen as the outsourcing party on a turnkey
basis. This project was headed by Pantaloon’s Chief Information Technology
Officer, Chinar Deshpande.
Three Phases
SAP implementation is not a single phase process. The project was divided
into three phases.
The first phase involved blueprinting existing processes and mapping them
to the desired state. In this phase, the entire project team worked on
current processes within the structure of the organisation, analysed and
drafted them. This blueprint was later used in the formation of new states of
the solution. Since the SAP would combine all the processes, each and every
one of these had to be evaluated.
In the second phase, the SAP platform was developed with the help of
Novasoft’s template which was predefined by SAP after evaluation of
Pantaloon’s needs and expertise in retail solutions.
The last phase in this project was for stores to switch over to the new
system and for current data to be ported. Before the SAP implementation,
all the data was unorganised. This data had to be migrated to the new SAP
The project was flagged off on 15th June 2005 and took about six months to
finish. It went live at the head office on 1st January 2006. The stores went
live on SAP from 1st January 2006 to 30th June 2006.

About the Company

Pantaloon Retail is the flagship enterprise of the Future Group, with a

presence across multiple lines of business. The company owns and
manages multiple retail formats that cater to a wide cross-section of
Indian society. Headquartered in Mumbai (Bombay), the company
operates through four million square feet of retail space, has over 140
stores across 32 cities in India and employs over 14,000 people. The
company registered a turnover of Rs 2,019 crore for FY 2005-06.

Pantaloon Retail forayed into retail in 1997 with the launching of its
fashion retail chain, Pantaloons in Kolkata. In 2001, it launched Big
Bazaar, a hypermarket chain. This was followed by Food Bazaar, a food
and grocery chain. Next up was Central, a first of its kind located in the
heart of major Indian cities. Some of its other formats include,
Collection i (home improvement products), E-Zone (consumer
electronics), Depot (books, music, gifts and stationary), aLL (a Little
Larger, fashion apparel for plus-size individuals), Shoe Factory
(footwear) and Blue Sky (fashion accessories). It has recently launched
its e-business venture, The group's subsidiary
companies include, Home Solutions Retail India Ltd, Pantaloon
Industries Ltd, Galaxy Entertainment and Indus League Clothing. The
group also has joint venture companies with a number of partners
including French retailer Etam group, Lee Cooper, Manipal Healthcare,
Talwalkar's, Gini & Jony and Liberty Shoes. Planet Retail, a group
company owns the franchisee of international brands like Marks &
Spencer, Debenhams, Next and Guess in India.

Benefits and Challenges

The key challenges in this project were not in the implementation. Rather,
the difficulties were faced during the data migration and in managing the
interim period when the project was underway for about six months.
Migrating unorganised data to an organised format is a challenging task.
Pantaloon has not been able to see immediate benefits from this
implementation. This application certainly has long term benefits which will
be seen when the performance of various aspects will be analysed. “It is too
early to calculate RoI. We have already started working on MAP
(Merchandise Assortment Planning), Auto-Replenishment and Purchase
Orders. We hope to use these systems to optimise our inventory and cut it
by about two to four weeks (depending on the line of business),” says
Maintenance & Hardware
This application is currently being used by around 1,200 employees across
the organisation. For maintaining this implementation and its related
applications, Pantaloon has an in-house team and it has outsourced ABAP
resources. They are also in the process of setting up a SAP Competency
Centre. The system runs on a HP Superdome server on HP UNIX 11i and the
database is from Oracle. The cost of this project was about $10 million.
Future projects
After the successful implementation of SAP for its retail chain, Pantaloon
plans to go ahead with IT projects such as implementation of WMS with
RFID, Customer Intelligence and CRM. Inventory and Promotions
Optimisation will be pursued later this year.

Book: Case Studies On Retail Store Strategies:a Repertoire

Unlike never before, companies have to constantly watch out to maintain that edge over
competition, which sometimes is essentially a break or make situation that a company finds itself
in. As Cases occupy a prominent place among pedagogical tools for teaching, this book with a
repository of 19 case studies extends over 3 sections showcasing the technical segmentation and
in-store strategies used by retailers to drive growth, increase profit margins, beat competition and
grab market share. The cases chosen in this book serve as excellent vehicles to project an
integrated view of retailers, to blend theory with practice, and sharpen the analytical skills of the
readers. Compared to the large number and wide range of marketing topics covered in marketing
books, this book focuses on the “Store Strategy” in retailing and in tune with the current needs of
the industry. Rich in pedagogic content, the book navigates through case studies to provide a deep
understanding of the retail industry and the challenges faced by retailers like 7-Eleven stores, Wal-
Mart, Metro cash and carry, Starbucks, McDonald’s, Amazon, to name a few. The book helps in
discussing retail strategy, customer centricity, in-store facelifts and makeovers, the shift to virtual
shopping, the advantages of on-line shopping and the fortitude borne by companies during
challenges. With real time people and happenings, each case study comes alive before the reader.
What, perhaps, is a significant take away from the book, apart from its intrinsic pedagogic
objectives are the thoughts and opinions of great retailers like Sam Walton, founder of Wal-Mart,
Bezos, founder of Amazon, Brad Anderson, CEO of Best Buy Inc., Kishore Biyani, the Indian retail
pioneer and others.