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As Flipkart grocery expands to 70 cities; J&K on cusp of big change

By: Atif Ahmed

Srinagar, March 2: As Walmart-owned Flipkart is planning to expand its grocery operations in 20 more cities in India from the existing 50, Jammu & Kashmir is on the cusp of a big change in its retail business landscape.

Even as Jammu & Kashmir’s twin capital cities of Srinagar and Jammu are not part of Flipkart’s  latest expansion plan, a Flipkart spokesperson told Ziraat Times that its ‘expansion into J&K is only a matter of time.’

While the latest expansion is likely to transform grocery supply chains for farm-sourced produce right from farms to consumer hubs, it is also anticipated to adversely impact the business of the traditional grocery retail system.

“In a way it is good that online grocery services are not being introduced to J&K. We are already reeling under a serious business slump. Now even if a certain percentage of grocery trade goes to online shopping platforms that would adversely impact grocery business in J&K”, Sushil Kumar, a distributor of fast moving consumer goods (FMCGs) in J&K told Ziraat Times.

Given the scale and pace of e-commerce forays across several consumer sectors, FMCG sectoral experts are of the opinion that it is only a matter of time when companies like Flipkart would introduce their operations in Jammu & Kashmir.

Meanwhile, online grocery business is set for a greater scale and a stiffer competition with another online grocery leader Big Basket being acquired by the Tata Group. Industry experts believe that with entities like Tata Group and Reliance set to enter the arena, online grocery business is likely to change in a big way even in Jammu & Kashmir.

“Grocery continues to be one of the fastest-growing categories, with the increase in demand for quality food and household supplies from users. In line with this, we have invested in scaling up our grocery operations across the country, strengthening ecosystem partnerships, thus ensuring a seamless grocery shopping experience through an expansive product selection, robust supply chain and smooth in-app experience for consumers,” said Manish Kumar, senior vice president, grocery, general merchandise and furniture, Flipkart.

“We have witnessed increased demand for groceries from tier 2 cities in the past year, fueled by customers increasing preference for contactless shopping, from the comforts of their home. It is a trend that we think will continue and will set the course of e-grocery space in India,” he added.

Flipkart Grocery has over 7,000 products available across over 200 categories including household supplies, staples, snacks and beverages.

The company claims that its grocery business has witnessed three fold growth in the last one year. It has not only partnered with retailers but is also working with FPOs across the country to enable formal digital access to the farmers community.

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