Since 2007, Navjeevan has been expanding consistently and from one superstore it has expanded to eight stores today – five self-owned and three leased – with 25,000 sq.ft of total retail space under operation.
Navjeevan Super Shop Group, which has been in business for over 70 years now, is widely regarded as the supermarket pioneer in north Maharashtra. Beginning its journey from a humble kirana store in Jalgaon in 1946, it opened its first self-service store in the city in 1993 and since then, it has taken impressive strides in modern food and grocery retailing. From 2007 onwards, Navjeevan has been on an expansion drive and opened eight stores in quick succession. As of date, there are eight Navjeevan supermarkets in operation, all in Khandesh area, with a retail area spanning 25,000 square feet, which bring in monthly revenue of about Rs. 8 crore.
But things weren’t a smooth sail for the brand as the sales took quite a dip after initial surge, and it took them two years to break even. However, after the initial tumultuous days had passed by, Navjeevan planned and effectively executed the techniques of modern retail and store management. For instance, they started offering festival schemes with free gift offers, which became a big hit with the consumers. The first such exercise was carried out in the year 1996. Navjeevan distributed free bone china mugs with the shop’s logo embossed to all customers that shopped for goods worth Rs. 555. It became the first F&G retailer to introduce the barcode system in north Maharashtra (year 2000). In the year 2005-06, it introduced annual lucky draws with offers for free shopping. Customer Meets were also organised on a few occasions. Thanks to such initiatives, the sales climbed to Rs. eight crore annually. In a 1500 sq. ft. shop, it reached this figure (Rs. 2800 sales per square feet) in the year 2005. Today, all the eight stores combined pull in monthly sales of Rs. eight crore. Thanks to the adoption of those new techniques and armed with a retail experience of spanning decades, Navjeevan’s expansion over the years has been successful and extremely fulfilling.
Since 2007, Navjeevan has been expanding consistently and from one superstore it has expanded to eight stores today – five self-owned and three leased – with 25,000 sq.ft of total retail space under operation. Another turning point came in 2015 when the Kankariyas opened their 6,000 sq. ft. mini hypermarket – Navjeevan Mega Mart – on national Highway 6
Innovation is the key to success
The market positioning of Navjeevan stores is that of ‘under one roof satisfaction for all your home needs’. It satisfies the customers with their essential shopping needs. Secondly, it follows leadership pricing and deep discounting as well to keep the customers loyal to the stores. It also follows the practice of ‘one day super low price’. The brand organizes regular shopping events on a month-on-month basis, depending on the occasion or festivals.
Merchandising is done considering the daily schedule and shopping pattern of customers. The brand assorts the categories that people need in the morning first. For example, it starts with toothpaste, tea, biscuits, bath soaps, hair oil, deodorants, etc. it keeps food and non-food separate. For inventory management, it simply cuts down on the product that sells less than five pieces in volume a month. Categories like instant food and namkeens have been witnessing good growth in recent years. The emergence of modern trade is a primary reason for driving this demand. At the same time, consumption pattern too is changing and customers want to have instant solutions regarding their essential needs. Dry fruits have also seen tremendous growth over the last few years in the Navjeevan stores. People have started spending freely on dry fruits as an essential item of their monthly needs.
The Road ahead
Navjeevan has its priorities sorted as it is looking to focus on offline. It sees a tremendous opportunity as a regional player to grow offline. Modern retail is still in a nascent stage in India. The plan is to expand in Tier IV towns/talukas near Jalgaon and give those small towns a modern touch. It plans to open three more stores this year and is currently working to build the pipleline of new stores.