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11 February 2008

India's largest Spencer's Hyper unveiled

Visual merchandising at Spencer's Hyper, Kolkata, India
Designed by Paul Ancheta, Haimanti Upadhyaya, & Nilanjon Ganguly
Image source: Paul Ancheta

FINALLY, WE opened it: the largest Spencer's hypermarket in India. After months of intense preparation, the doors of what is also Kolkata's first-ever Spencer's Hyper opened to the public at the glitzy South City Mall on 1 February 2008. It has been a blast since then, with footfalls and bill conversions exceeding anything that the company has ever done (or seen) before on a first-week run. This is easily its strongest store launch ever.

The Bengalis have not since anything like this before: 72,000 swanky square feet of electronics, appliances, music, books, apparel, home decor and commodities, sports goods, furniture, fruits, vegetables, staples, and grocery items under one tall roof. The products all come from various parts of the world, and they all scream for value for money. Buttressed by a clever marketing campaign around the tag line “Taste the World”, streams of shoppers lapped it all up. There is also the “hometown” factor: Spencer's Retail is owned by the Kolkata-based RPG Group, and opening its first hypermarket in the city is almost a homecoming event. And fellow citizens are loving them back.

For three weeks prior to the opening, I joined my team of three diligent and disciplined visual merchandisers in working the aisles, battling vendors and deadlines to create globally themed displays to match the international look and feel of the store. Initially, we thought we would not make the launch date, as the goods were not fully available until the week of store opening. Thankfully, the effervescence of the operations and merchandising teams infected us. The setups went smoothly, and they were fun.

Once during the opening day, I peered into a shopping cart queued at the cash registers. It contained a Levi's T-shirt, jars of Chinese ingredients, and an English-language cookbook on top of sundry pieces of grocery. We did it. We made the shopper “taste the world”!

Related Site: Spencer's Retail Web Site, Grocery Shopping Can be Fun!


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