Tata Group is venturing into online grocery business under Starquik brand, taking on Amazon and Bigbasket in a nascent yet rapidly growing market.
A pilot venture will be rolled out within the next two months as an online channel for Trent Hypermarket, an equal joint venture between Tata and British retailer Tesco, said two people privy with the development.
Tata Group runs three formats under Star banner — Daily, Market and Hyper — and has around 42 stores. “Trent plans to shut its smaller format Star Daily, which will help them cut costs in rentals and at the same time serve those catchment areas through online,” said one of the officials.
Tata Group did not offer any comment. Since foreign direct investment is not allowed in retailing of multibrand non-food products offline or online, Tata’s latest initiative will be through Fiora Hy .
“FHL is also pursuing on a trial basis online retailing of food & grocery in limited catchments in the proximity of select Star banner stores,” Trent had said in its latest annual report. In June, Tatas bought the management team and technology infrastructure of Gurgaon-based GrocerMax which has been helping its omnichannel project take off in catchments of Trent hypermarkets.
For Tesco, the world’s third-largest retailer that has nearly 6,800 stores globally, its online business earns roughly £3 billion in sales and is one of the rare such ventures that’s profitable. However, the Indian business is minuscule. The Indian retailer saw a dull sales performance last fiscal — growing by 2.1 per cent to Rs 892.57 crore during FY17.