Le Marche to expand dark stores, online verticals: CEO Amit Dutta

Le Marche to expand dark stores, online verticals: CEO Amit Dutta

Premium grocery retail chain Le Marche Retail is scaling organic expansion avenues such as dark stores and cloud kitchens, its chief executive said. “Organically we are expanding through different avenues including dark stores to aid faster deliveries for digital customers and a central kitchen to double up as a cloud kitchen,” Le Marche Retail CEO Amit Dutta said.

The supermarket chain is, additionally, looking for inorganic growth in the grocery retail space to scale up its business in markets outside of Delhi-NCR, he said. “Any potential acquisitions will be in the grocery retail space under the Le Marche umbrella; our forte will continue to be grocery.”

Le Marche began accelerating online deliveries only last year after the pandemic-induced lockdowns and in response to increasing adoption of online shopping by consumers. Dutta said post the onset of the pandemic, the retailer has witnessed surge in sales of convenience-focused categories such as frozen, ready-to-cook or baking products. The retailer’s ready-to-eat products in bakery, fresh snacks, beverages, dips and marinades are clubbed under private label La Fraiche and listed on food delivery platforms such as Zomato.

With festive sales outlook expected to improve over last year riding on easing of Covid restrictions, improved mobility and expanded vaccine coverage, brands have been booking ‘hot spots’ at retail stores and scaling up products and offers well over last year. “We are scaling up inventory but in line with our estimates for the festive season; we are not going overboard as there is still some skepticism within consumers on discretionary spending,” Dutta said.

According to a report by consumer data intelligence consultancy Axis My India, over 42% households said they will spend more or the same this festive season over last year, with discretionary spending up 21% year-on-year for the month of August.

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