New Delhi: Leading fuel retailers such as Adani Total, Indian Oil and Bharat Petroleum are diverse- flying rapidly to set up non-fuel re- tail businesses at petrol filling and EV charging stations especially at highways, by setting up convenience stores, cafes, and pharmacies. toy kiosks and gaming zones, which they said are top captive emerging retail destinations.
“In an effort to improve the customer experience at CNG and electric vehicle charging stations. Adani Total Gas is planning to set up convenience retail stores that will have fast food counters, medicines, books, and ice-cream parlors. car wash facilities and gaming zones,” an Adani spokesperson said in an email revert.
“There are about 460 gas filling and 115 electric vehicle charging points across India and the plan is to optimize these stations. The multi-brand shops will be under the umbrella of ATGL Value Added Services offering.” the spokesperson said.
Bharat Petroleum, which launched its first BeCafe outlet in Ja- January this year plans to set up about four dozen more such cafes at strategic retail points. “Next time, when you drive on from New Delhi to Nainital, stop by at our newly-launched BeCafe at our Fuel Station in Haldwani,” Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL)’s website states. “We plan to roll out BeCafes across our net- work.” the company said.
Industry executives said convenience retail is being driven by in-infrastructure development and a surge in highways and expressways- across the country, which is leading petrol companies to diversify
to non-fuel businesses. Gaurav Marya, founder, and chairman of retail and franchising consultancy Franchise India, which is advising Adani Total on its non-fuel retail business said, “There are over a lakh upcoming petrol filling and EV charging stations across highways. These are plum consumer catchment destinations and most large fuel retailers and EV charging stations are looking to unlock the potential of non-fuel retail here”.
The integration of convenience stores, cafes, pharmacies, and other retail outlets at refueling stations is common in the US and Europe.
Anuj Puri, chairman at Anarock Group, said how strongly the trend takes off in the future will depend on multiple factors. “Non-fuel retail works well with the
right operators. By integrating a convenience store, eatery, or pharmacy, operators can capitalize on this traffic to generate additional revenue,” Puri said.
Indian Oil Corporation (IOCL) plans to set up toy shops and kiosks across its extensive IOCL retail outlets through a recently- signed MoU with Deepak Houseware and Toys, also known as Urban Tots, an electronic and other toys maker.
“Providing such facilities enhances the overall customer experience at refueling stations and helps create a positive brand image for the operator. For retailers and coffee-shop chains, the advantage lies in having outlets at un- conventional locations, which can operate at all hours of the day and night. Additionally, they get larger spaces with parking facilities and captive footfall,” Puri added.
A Bank of America Securities India report has forecasted that India will have a cumulative high- way length of 180,000 km and rail lines expanding to 120,000 km by 2025-end.