Tiruchi’s cooperative stores see decline in footfall as customers shift to private retailers

Published - July 10, 2024 07:02 pm IST - TIRUCHI

A view of Chinthamani Supermarket in Tiruchi.

A view of Chinthamani Supermarket in Tiruchi. | Photo Credit: M. Moorthy

Government-run cooperative stores in the city are struggling to compete with private retailers and malls that have come up in and around Tiruchi.

“Though we offer a discount on most of our goods, including a 10% rebate on medicines, most customers have shifted to private department stores,” a senior management official at the Chinthamani Cooperative Supermarket in Puthur told The Hindu.

The Chinthamani Cooperative was founded in 1939, and the self-service stores (supermarkets) began operation in 2009. Besides Puthur, Chinthanami’s self-service stores can be found in Teppakulam and the township of Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL).

According to official figures, the three stores earn ₹17 lakh per month, with the Puthur store alone accounting for ₹9 lakh in monthly sales. The Puthur office of Chinthamani Cooperative oversees the work five Indane gas agencies, four pharmacies, three self-service stores, a department to supply stationery for government offices, two vegetable and agricultural supplies stores, three kerosene distribution stores, and 22 fair price shops, among others. Ten shops in the sprawling Puthur complex have been rented out. “We have a monthly turnover of ₹3 crore at present. We have been asked to increase our sales up to ₹4.6 crore in the coming year,” said the official.

The Amaravathi Consumer Wholesale Store, established in 1942, has 106 fair price shops, with an enrolment of 1,01527 ration cardholders. It also runs two self-service stores, and eight Amma Mini Supermarkets. Among its many business ventures are six kerosene bunks and a petrol station. The growth of private groceries, apartment complexes with in-house shops, besides the steady arrival of big-ticket franchises from across India have taken the sheen off cooperative stores in Tiruchi.

Shoppers also find it hard to patronise stores that do not have adequate parking space. Features such as a secure digital billing system are yet to be added. “We have noticed a dip in our customer numbers this year, and are formulating measures to improve our services,” said a senior official.

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