Lots Wholesale Solutions, the Indian unit of the Thailand-based wholesaler, opened a 50,000 sq ft store in Delhi on Wednesday, its flagship store in India and the first of three to be opened this year.
Owned by Thailand’s $50 billion Charoen Pokphand Group (CP), Lots aims to supply to kiranas, home-grown retailers and local suppliers. Except for some exceptional food items which may need to be imported, it plans to source all products domestically.
For a start, the company plans to open outlets only in the National Capital Region (NCR) in the next three years, after which it will consider expanding in the south and east, said Tanit Chearavanont, managing director of Lots, at the launch of the store in Pitampura. The company calls this a “cluster approach" and plans to open stores in Noida and East Delhi this year, and five new stores next year.
Chearavanont said that Lots wanted its stores to be at prime locations so that its customers don’t have to travel long distances to procure supplies.
The company is looking to break even in five years, although that is a very aggressive projection, said Sameer Singh, director-operations, business development and expansion.
Mint reported in January that the CP Group plans to invest ₹ 1,000 crore in India over five years. The opening of the store “shows the popularity of Brand India in the world. The day is not far for India to become the global food market and global food factory", said Harsimrat Kaur Badal, union minister of food processing industries, in a statement.
Lots deals mainly in food items, and because farmers in India and Thailand face similar conditions, it will be easier for Lots to understand the Indian market, said Chutintorn Gongsakdi, Thailand’s ambassador to India, who also attended the store opening.
The company will compete with Metro Cash and Carry, which has been in India since 2003. Although the company refused to comment on competition, Singh said that Lots will not indulge in price cutting to win market share and will look to add value in bulk purchases and win customers.