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Expanding operations to capitalise on growing demand include retailers and restaurants.

Nearly a dozen listed retailers and quick-service restaurant chains added almost 4,700 stores – on an average about 13 a day – to their network during the last fiscal year, recording their fastest expansion in at least five years, as demand for discretionary and lifestyle products picked up.

As of March 31, these companies, including Reliance RetailAditya Birla Fashion & Retail, DMart, Tata’s TrentTitan Co and Starbucks together had 30,520 stores, according to data sourced from their latest investor presentations. In fiscal 2021-22, the number was 25,821.

“Our ability to execute, find the right places, ensuring they are built to suit, and everything is working well,” said Titan chief executive (jewellery) Ajoy Chawla. “Most of the franchisees want the second, third, fourth, fifth store and we are unable to fulfil their desire. They are even happy to take the next store 100 km away or 200 km away in another city, even internationally.”

With competition also intensifying in categories such as quick-service restaurants, it triggered aggressive store expansion. For instance, Starbucks, which started India operations in October 2012, recorded the fastest store expansion, adding 71 stores to take the overall door count to 333 last fiscal year.

“As we grow in size, as people become more aware as our economy grows, more people become aware of the offering and want to participate. You need to not just open stores, but ensure that when you open stores, they are profitable and do the numbers that they are supposed to,” Tata Starbucks CEO Sushant Dash told ET earlier this month.

Apart from store launches, retailers also opened larger stores in marquee properties to give better experience to shoppers. According to data from property consultancy firm Anarock, the share of transactions for retail space sized between 2,000 sq ft and 5,000 sq ft increased to 28% in 2022 from 24% the previous year. The store additions come despite an increase in the share of online sales in their overall sales since the beginning of the pandemic.

Sales of organised retail segments grew 34% during FY22-23 compared with the pre-pandemic FY20, a report by the Retailers Association of India (RAI) said. However, sales of lifestyle, apparel and discretionary products moderated for the second consecutive month to 6% in April due to a high base.



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