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Flipkart launches online grocery operations in Mumbai

Flipkart launches online grocery operations in Mumbai
Photo Credit: VCCircle

Walmart-owned homegrown e-commerce major Flipkart said it has launched its grocery brand Supermart in Mumbai, making the city its fifth port of call.

The Mumbai launch adds to operations in Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad and Delhi.

In August last year, Flipkart had made a renewed foray into the online grocery segment with the soft launch of its Supermart operations in Bengaluru.

The Mumbai store will serve 75% of the city’s serviceable PIN codes.

“Our grocery business has grown phenomenally over the last year, making this the right time for us to bring our seamless shopping experience to the people of Mumbai. We are constantly working to improve our offerings and are looking forward to excelling in this space,” said Manish Kumar, head of grocery at Flipkart.

Flipkart claims that it has set up a separate supply chain for groceries in cities where it operates. This includes fulfilment centres and a last-mile delivery network.

Media reports have stated that Flipkart may buy Indian grocery chain Namdhari's Fresh, which operates over 30 stores selling fruit and vegetables in Bengaluru.

Flipkart had launched a grocery service on its Nearby app in 2015, only to pull the plug on it five months later. It relaunched its grocery service under Supermart in August 2017.

In the grocery space, other significant players like Bigbasket, Amazon and Grofers have been running an online-only model.

Founded in 2011, Bigbasket, which is considered the market leader in the online grocery space, operates in 10 large cities and 15 Tier-II cities. In an interaction with TechCircle around a year ago, Bigbasket co-founder Hari Menon had hinted at unmanned offline grocery stores, along the lines of Amazon Go in the US and Alibaba’s Hema store in China. Alibaba also happens to be one of Bigbasket’s significant investors.

Meanwhile, Amazon is aggressively expanding its food retail business in India after overcoming regulatory hurdles. According to recent media reports, Amazon Retail India Pvt. Ltd (ARIPL) plans to take its operations to 60 more small cities in the country over the next year or so. ARIPL is currently present in 100 Tier-II and Tier-III cities.

ARIPL, which began operations in the second half of last year, currently sells about 3,000 stock-keeping units of food products, with a supplier network of 250 vendors across 100 cities. Amazon had secured the Indian government’s nod to invest $500 million in the food retail sector in 2017 after the Centre had in 2016 allowed 100% foreign direct investment (FDI) in food processing and trading, including through e-commerce, for products manufactured in India. ARIPL was converted into a grocery supplier on marketplace Amazon.in. 

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