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16 April 2008

Spencer's Hyper ventilates in Baroda


Visual merchandising at Spencer's Hyper, Gujarat, India
Designed by Paul Ancheta, Vinodini Iyer, & other members of the VM team
Image source: Paul Ancheta

ONE MONTH ago today, Spencer's Hyper opened its portals to the Gujarati public in Vadodara (Baroda). It was a smashing opening, literally: by evening, over 1,000 Gujaratis outside the store were pushing and shoving each other to join 5,000 others already inside the store. On the roads, possibly as much cars jammed the traffic. Similar scenarios occurred through the next several days. To say the least, the store opening was a success.

Two levels, a larger fresh food area, a 30-foot-high atrium, a 30-foot-long show window, and a ramp way leading to the upper level fill the 55,000 square feet of trading area. Faced with a bigger display area, I adapted the look and feel of our earlier store (South City hypermarket in Kolkata) with even more baskets, barrels, crates, and ethnic terracotta vases decorating topmost gondola shelves. This VM approach matches the mindset and habits of the local Gujarati consumers, making Baroda look much more ethnic and food-focused than Kolkata.

Spencer's Hyper Vadodara is now the hottest store in the organization. Colleagues from all over India have been flying into this quaint city, inspecting the store to benchmark their own store openings. I was telling Vinodini (regional VM manager for Gujarat), that, for all the gracious welcomes that she has been giving the visitors, I should now change her title to “VM Guide”!

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