In April 2008, Bharti Retail opened its first “EasyDay Market” retail store in founder Sunil Bharti Mittal’s mid-sized home town of Ludhiana in Punjab. Eschewing the major metro cities that have been the focus of other Indian retail chains such as Spencers, Reliance and More. Since then, CEO Vinod Sawhny has led the opening of two more stores, both in North India. With a focus on value retailing, the company has targetted Punjab and Haryana and may expand to neighboring northern states of Uttarakhand, Delhi and Himachal Pradesh. This avoids locations where Pantaloon’s Big Bazaar and Food Bazaar are entrenched and also builds near Mittal’s traditional strongholds. Many FMCG (CPG) manufacurers have located their factories in states such as Uttarakhand and Himachals for tax reasons, so the supply chains for packaged products won’t be that long.
As a value retailer, it makes sense that Bharti gets about 15 percent of its sales from private labels. Sawny expects to double that percentage to 30% in an interview with the Indian newspaper DNA.
Separately Bharti has a joint venture with the world’s largest retailer Wal-mart. But Indian law requires that stores that are run by this joint venture offer products for sale only to businesses and not to consumers. They are being referred in India as CnC or Cash-and-Carry wholesale stores. The first such wholesale location opened in the border city of Amritsar.