Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Better deals? Stick to neighbourhood stores


Statesman News Service
KOLKATA, July 28 : Is se sastaa koi nahi, did you say? Despite the hype about supermarkets and their competitive prices, essential commodities in your neighbourhood kirana shop are in most cases significantly lower.
A survey conducted by The Statesman shows that Big Bazaar and Spencer's are almost uniformly more expensive than the humble, round-the-corner grocer. The grocer will sell you a kilogram of arhar dal for Rs 48; supermarkets charge Rs 51 and 52 (see chart).
A grocer in Bentinck Street sells chana dal at Rs 40 per kilogram, whilst Spencer's charges Rs 45 per kg. Affirming that the cost of some commodities is higher in the retail shops, Mr. Praveen Dalal vice president (Eastern Zone) of Spencer's said that their products have been priced keeping in mind the competition. "We are aware that the price of some essential commodities is slightly higher than the wholesale market price, but we sell super quality products and so there is a variation in the price," said Mr Dalal.
But it isn't just pulses that cost more in the supermarkets; even branded goods such as tea and packaged basmati rice do. A grocer sells a 1-kg pack of India Gate basmati rice at Rs 80, but Mr. Dalal charges his customers Rs 98.
Engine brand mustard oil is sold by Big Bazaar and Spencer's at Rs 91 per kg; grocers sell it at Rs 87 and Rs 90. Popular brands of packaged tea are also dearer at the supermarkets, the difference being as much as Rs 10 in the case of a 225-gram packet of Brooke Bond Red Label.
Mr. Dalal said: "Our competitors are the other retail chains that have been set up in the city. So we have decided to open up more such retail outlets in the city soon." Rather pointedly, he added that Spencer's had never claimed in advertisements that its prices were lower than anyone.