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Damani's D Mart mulls pan-India footprint

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D Mart, the R K Damani-promoted retail chain, is planning to go national in the next couple of months, by opening stores in ‘key’ cities such as Bangalore, Delhi and Hyderabad.

The nine-year-old chain would add at least 25 stores in the next one year to its existing 33 stores in Maharashtra and Gujarat, said an executive with D Mart. The retailer recently opened a 25,000 sq ft store in Hyderabad. is one of the biggest stock market investors in the country.

“We will open stores wherever we find the right opportunity. We will mostly focus on key cities,” said the executive.

Though was among the few retailers who owned properties rather than leasing these out, it is also looking at taking properties on rent to increase its footprint.

D Mart’s expansion plan coincides with the plans of other retail majors, such as Bharti Retail and Reliance Retail, who have already hit the expansion trial, following recovery in economy and consumer spending.

“We want to be good at what we do. We know we want to match up to the competition, if we need to survive and grow,” the executive added. For instance, D Mart does not retail its private labels, as it does not have the scale to do so, while retailers such as Kishore Biyani’s Future Group, Aditya Birla Retail and Reliance Retail have invested in private labels.

According to consultants, D Mart’s slow expansion became a boon for it as last year’s economic slowdown proved painful for retailers, especially for the mid-size ones, as customers curbed spending to save cash.

While Chennai-based shut 1,600 stores after defaulting on loans, Delhi-based is struggling with its corporate debt restructuring (CDR) cell. While Mumbai-based Foodland Fresh and Delhi-based Triveni Engineering shut all their stores, Wadhawan group-promoted Spinach has closed over 60 stores in the last 18 months.

“They (mid-size retailers) expanded too much, too fast. That is the reason they went down. If they (D Mart) can grow slowly, they can do well,” said Anand Raghuraman, partner and director at Boston Consulting Group.

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