Meena Bazar sets standard in superstore concept

- A Monitor Report 01 Nov, 2017  |    -      +
Dhaka : Fuelled by growing urbanisation, the idea of superstores
flourished in the country a decade ago, increasing number of women
working outside their home, and raising per capita income.

Hassle-free shopping environment, hygienic commodities, fresh
vegetables, meat and fish at the supermarkets has made it popular
quickly among the customers.

Meena Bazar is a well reputed retail supermarket chain in Bangladesh
maintaining international standard. It began the journey 15 years ago to
make our modern workaholic life easy and healthy. From the very
beginning, Meena Bazar fulfils the requirements of their consumers and
also makes the products available and easy to get.

Meena Bazar is a subsidiary of Gemcon Group. It also produces organic
products, dairy items, prepared food and herbal products. Meena Bazar is
not only catering such items to its shoppers, but also educating them
about their benefits in order to offer the best possible prices to its
valuable customers.

Meena Bazar outlets are carrying almost 8,000-10,000 products for sale
and providing convenient shopping experience, easy parking and friendly
customer service for its customers.

"Meena Bazar is the first retail superstore in Bangladesh that has a
website to shop online. We launched our website in April 2012. We took
this initiative to make customers' life easier. With 15 years' of
experience, we have now launched Meena Click as the new enhanced online
platform of Meena Bazar," said, Shaheen Khan, Chief Executive Officer,
Meena Bazar.

Meena Bazar, one of the largest supermarket chains in Bangladesh, is
looking to make its online supermarket as popular as its
brick-and-mortar ones, as the country warms to the idea of purchasing
groceries off the internet.

"We observed from 1999, changes havecome to Dhaka and the city had
turned to cosmopolitan. We have noticed that the urban people were
becoming busier with every passing day and that is why Meena Bazaar
start journey for fulfill the consumers' demands," Shaheen Khan stated.

"The customers are more focused on saving time, which led us to re-launch the home delivery service," he added.

They can now place grocery orders at www.meenabazar. and within
two to three hours, the items would be at their doorsteps.

"We want to give people a little relief from their increasingly hectic
lives and the sapping traffic jams now a days. We have already got good
response_ our home delivery is the quickest in town."

"We have total 18 outlets. When consumer give order through online or
hotline, our nearest Meena Bazar superstore provides free home delivery
for purchases above Tk 800; a Tk 80 (if order below the sum) delivery
charge is applicable for purchases below the sum. Payment can be made
while placing the order online or upon delivery."

"Currently we have two refund methods. We will offer the replacement. If
the replacement is not available then we will present refund voucher,"
Khan added.

The online operation covers the whole of Dhaka, Chittagong and Khulna
cities, the three cities where the subsidiary of Gemcon Food and
Agricultural Products Ltd now has operations.

"The present generation likes the supermarkets as they are convenient,
time-saving and ensure good-quality groceries. We want to cater to this
new generation of customers to the best of our abilities."

Organic products

He said, "Our company chairman Kazi Shahed has fascination on organic
products. So, we have many organic products like mustard oil, ghee, dal
etc. The company sources many of its agro products directly from farmers
and producers, cutting the middlemen, while ensuring highest quality,
freshness and continuous availability.

Shaheen Khan said there are some policy issues, due to which customers
have to pay a little more than in the traditional markets.

"Supermarket chains have to pay 2 per cent VAT, but it is not applicable
for open kitchen markets. It is a huge turn-off for the customers, as
they have to pay higher prices. There should be a level playing field."

The 65 per cent import duties on equipment needed to set up supermarkets is a barrier to the growth of the sector, he said.

"The duty should be nominal for the growth of the industry, as we are
not being able to expand our business as fast as we desire, despite the
huge demand from customers." "If we can expand our business, the volume
of our sales will go up, which means more revenue for the government."

Under Khan's stewardship, Meena Bazar has grown four-fold, opening 12 stores in the last five years.

We have 18 stores at present and next year we will expand 7/8 more.
Every year we will try to expandly 7/8 stores," he said, while declining
to give any turnover figures.

"But to establish superstore, we need proper commercial facilities,
proper super shop space. In our country we have no initial space to open
super store," he added.

"We have been trying for the last few years to expand our retail chain
with an aim to enhance the volume of the business," he said "It's a
volume-based business. The more outlets we open, the more will be the
sales as we will be able to serve more customers."

Meena Bazar of Gemcon Food and Agricultural Products Ltd has signed an
agreement with Bangladesh Council of Scientific and Industrial Research
(BCSIR) to facilitate the company in testing, labelling and certifying
its consumable raw and processed food products against food safety
parameters for consumption.

Gemcon will now use the label 'Tested by BCSIR' along with the logo on
the products of the batch tested, at the stores covered by the analyses
and in media communications to let consumer know about food quality and

"Meena Bazar is also known as one of the trustworthy food suppliers of
the nation, hence it is committed to deliver its' best of the very best
by expanding its sphere all over Bangladesh," he concluded.

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