Easyday

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Easyday
Type Private company's subsidiary's retail chain
Industry Retailing
Founded 2008 (2008)
Headquarters New Delhi, India
Number of locations 220
Area served India
Key people

Raj Jain, Chief Executive Officer[1] Pankaj Madan, Chief Financial Officer[2]

Mitchell Slape, Chief Operating Officer[3]
Viresh Dayal, Chief Commercial Officer[4]
Arti Singh, Senior Vice-President, Corporate Affairs[5]
Owners Bharti Enterprises Limited's subsidiary Bharti Retail Limited
Website Bharti Retail.in

Easyday is an Indian retail brand that runs chains of consumer retail department stores.[6] The brand is wholly owned by Bharti Enterprises Limited and is operated by its subsidiary, Bharti Retail Limited,[6] which is headquartered in New Delhi. The technical and management support for the brand is provided by Arkansas, United States based Wal-Mart Stores, Inc, which is the largest retailer in the world.[6] Bharti Enterprises announced its foray into retail in February 2007[7] and the first store was opened in Punjab, India in April 2008.[8] Easyday presently has 220 stores across 13 states[9] The real estate, design and construction services to Easyday are provided by Cedar Support Services, an Indian retail company majority-owned by Bharti Enterprises, which also provides similar services to Bharti Walmart Private Limited.[10]

History[edit]

In 2006, Walmart initiated talks with India-based Bharti Enterprises to enter the Indian market[11] as India's restrictive commercial laws prohibited most foreign companies from setting up stores to compete with domestic retailers.[12] Subsequently, they set up an equal joint venture to float a company called Bharti Walmart Private Limited in 2007, with the intention of doing wholesale business, through Best Price Modern Wholesale stores.[13] It was decided that while Walmart would work towards back-end cash & carry supply chain for the wholesale operations of Bharti Walmart; it would also provide expertise including technology, supply chain, logistics and management support to the retail stores, Easyday, which will be run a wholly owned subsidiary of Bharti Enterprises named Bharti Retail Private Limited.[8][14] Bharti Retail was set up in April 2007 with the target an annual turnover of about $3.65 billion by 2015.[15] The major challenge for Easyday stores was the competition from small scale retailers who controlled about 97% of the Indian retail business. They organized protests against Easyday, which was supported by a section of politicians.[16] Amid a stiff resistance from the opposition political parties, the Indian government allowed 51% Foreign Direct Investment in multi-brand retail in September 2012, which could enable Walmart to do direct retail business in India.[17]

Brand name[edit]

While deciding on naming the stores, Bharti Enterprises chose not to use the name Walmart in the brand name, even though the operations of the store largely depended on Walmart's collaboration. It was done to avoid any repercussions by the usage of a foreign brand name, keeping in view the stiff opposition against potential job and business losses caused by a foreign brand.[18] Also, Asipac Projects, a retail consultancy commented, "Walmart prefers to be not known by its brand name until it's not in 100% control in a country. In India, till the Easyday stores do not look and feel exactly like a Walmart store in the US, they would not give it the brand name."[19]

First store[edit]

On April 16, 2008, Bharti Retail made their first official entry in the retail business with the inauguration of three Easyday stores in Ludhiana, Punjab, which is the hometown of Sunil Bharti Mittal, the chairman of Bharti Enterprises.[8][20] Those stores measured 2,500 to 4,500 sq. ft.[21] The first batch of the employees at the stores were local residents, who were given training at Bharti Retail's training facility.[22][23] Bharti Retail stressed that it would employ local residents at their stores, and would also generate new employment options to vendors of fruits, vegetables and meat, as well as to housewives and retired people. "These initiatives will help facilitate inclusive growth in communities in which its stores operate," it said.[21]

Expansion[edit]

The company made plans to expand zone-wise, starting with the northern part of India.[24] By November 2008, the company had 12 stores operational and in the next month, Easyday opened its first medium sized retail store, labelled Easyday Market, in Ludhiana, Punjab.[25]

In May 2009, Easyday opened its first store in Delhi NCR.[26] Easyday had its retail operations running in 70 stores by May 2010 in the states of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, among others.[7]

Presence[edit]

Easyday currently operates in 13 states - Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh in over 110 towns and cities. The number of stores functional is 228 across three different formats[27][28] catering to about 76,000 customers everyday.[28] Easyday has aggressive plans for expansion and is aiming to have 332 stores by December 2013 and later 638 stores by December 2018.[27]

Format[edit]

An Easyday Market store in Bengaluru.

There are three kinds of format stores operated by Bharti Retail, all of those have the word Easyday in their tag name. The standard neighborhood stores are called Easyday and have their presence in over 190 locations;[28] the compact hypermarkets are termed Easyday Market, which are mid-sized stores and function in 22 marts; and large hypermarket style stores are named Easyday Hyper,[29] with just one store so far. The general term used for all these stores, irrespective of the store format, is Easyday.

In addition to the merchandise sold at the regular Easyday stores, the Easyday Market stores stock a wider range of brand and product selection. The Easyday Hyper stores follow a format of a very large store spread over 60,000 sq. ft. and offer a further advanced, extensive range of merchandise and goods in a capacious setup.[28] The first and the only Easyday Hyper was launched in Mumbai in September 2011[30]

Merchandise[edit]

Easyday sells items and products of various brands keeping in mind the requirements of the local and regional needs. A typical Easyday store sells groceries including fresh produce inclusive of fruits, vegetables & milk; cereals, meat, poultry, dairy and baked products, canned goods, soups, grains, snacks, cookies, chips, condiments, beverages, sauces, spices, and candy; beauty products like toiletries, fragrances, makeup, shaving and skincare items; health care items; apparel, hosiery, shoes & accessories; books and stationary; toys; gifts; kitchen ware; home improvement products including tools, lighting, & electronic accessories; and items related to religion. Easyday has also partnered with Moneygram International that provides customers the facility of money transfer at their stores. This facility was initially launched at 121 stores in May 2011.[31]

Private Brands[edit]

Though Easyday sells merchandise manufactured by several different companies, it also strategically sells Bharti Walmart's own private brands. Bharti Walmart said in an interview, "Customers have begun to like private labels due to better quality, high food safety standards, international look and feel of products, customized packaging created after customer feedback and the credibility of the retailer."[32]

  • Great Value: The brand Great Value is Walmart's international brand, and it locally sells a range of everyday-use products like flour, staples, cereals, spices, tea, cold beverages, sodas, jams, ketchups, dry fruits, corn flakes, Indian snacks, dish-wash bars, detergents, toilet cleaners, and floor & glass cleaners[33][34] These products are typically sold at a lower price because of minimal marketing and advertising expense. As a house or generic brand, the Great Value line does not consist of goods produced by Bharti Walmart, but is a labeling system for items manufactured and packaged by a number of agricultural and food corporations.
  • Easy Choice: The brand Easy Choice operates on the same lines as Great Value, also catering to the FMCG range, sourcing products from Bharti Walmart, but the items are usually a further little cheaper as compared to Great Value products.
  • Mainstays: It is Walmart's another international brand for basic home essentials, catering to kitchen & bathroom accessories, bed linen, cushion covers, towels, plastics, lighting solutions, and stationary.[34][35][36]
  • Equate: This global Walmart brand sells personal care products,[34] including cosmetics, deodorants, bar & liquid soaps, oral & dental care range, nail-cutters, and baby care products[36]
  • George: George is a western apparel brand that began as British supermarket chain, Asda Stores Limited's, private clothing range, and later moved to Walmart's US and Canadian stores.[34][35]
  • Astiva: It is Bharti Walmart's regional brand dealing with ethnic Indian wear,[34] such as kurtas, kurtis, salwar kameez, and ready to stitch fabric.[36]
  • Simply Basic: It is a brand designed to cater to everyday wear and clothing needs.[36]
  • Home Trends: This brand caters to home furnishings & decor,[34] kitchen tools, crockery, cookware, table ware and glassware.[36]
  • Kid Connection: It is a specialized brand dealing with toys, children's clothing and other items for children.[34][35]
  • Faded Glory: This brand provides footwear[35]
  • Athletic Works: It is a fitness & sports brand that deals with athletic shoes, work-out equipment, gym goods and fitness merchandise.[34][35]

Corruption allegations[edit]

  • In September 2012, an Indian politician, MP Achuthan, leveled charges that Walmart invested $100 million of convertible debentures in 2010 in Bharti Retail for Easyday stores, even though, in 2010 the Indian government did not allow any foreign investments in multi-brand retail. Easyday was accused of having received illegal investments in violation of India’s FDI laws and the Indian government started an investigation.[37] This also led to in internal probe by Walmart into possible violations of the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which prohibits bribery outside of the US. Bharti Walmart suspended several senior executives as part of an internal bribery investigation.[38]
  • In December 2012, reports emerged indicating that Walmart had spent $25 million over four years to lobby the US government to gain access to overseas markets including India.[39] The same month, the Indian government approved an inquiry into Walmart's lobbying activities in the US amid a heated debate in India over Walmart's plans to open retail stores in India.[40]

Controversies[edit]

In January 2013, a fifteen year old girl was forced to strip naked at an Easyday store location at Mallhar Mega Mall, Indore, Madhya Pradesh, as she was accused of shop-lifting and the security team wanted to search her.[41][42] The girl, who is a junior national level table tennis player, was found innocent, though the store staff allegedly misbehaved with her[41] and she had to undergo mental torture.[42] Her mother, Chapla Kumar Bhargawa,[42] who got extremely outraged at this incident, filed a compliant with the police. The authorities registered a case against three store employees, including the woman who strip-searched her in a private room. Her mother said, "How can you force someone to undress? The act cannot be justified."[41] The victim's mother later also registered a complaint against the uncooperative behavior of Indore Police officer - Inspector-general of police, Anuradha Shankar,[42] who reportedly asked inappropriate questions like "Are your intentions of blackmailing the store owner?"[42] Easyday, meanwhile, expressed its concern and said, "We deeply regret the inconvenience caused to our customer at our Indore store. We are investigating the case for appropriate action."[41] The Madhya Pradesh Table Tennis Association condemned the incident and called it "very unfortunate."[43]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]