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Neighbourhood Retail.

Last updated on June 7th, 2020 at 05:21 pm

So, what constitutes our friendly neighbourhood Retail ? In a typical neighborhood of about 100 families or above what all retail stores/services we can find ? We can the define the criteria for the “neighborhood” as – it should be in a walkable distance – a 10 year old kid in the family or the eldest grandma/grandpa in the family should be able to walk and buy the things.

Basic Necessities

A departmental store/Kirana shop, a pharmacy store and a vegetable shop are the bare necessities. Sometimes the vegetable shop forms part of the departmental store itself but mostly available as a separate entity. Though the above shops take tele-order and do home delivery, mostly the customer walks-in and purchases the stuff.

Also included in the basic necessity comes the milk vendor and the newspaper vendor. Both these services are home delivered on a fixed-monthly-fee basis. For most of the homes the daily morning chore starts with the above two – a
dose of the daily news and a hot cup of coffee.


Along with the above, a bakery, a sweet and savories shop, a chicken/mutton/fish stall, an exclusive fruit shop, a mini restaurant/hotel completes the food/grocery requirements of the neighborhood. Typically these shops may be little farther (within 1to 1.5 kms) and service two or three neighborhood clusters. They may also prefer a fair bit of floating
population (adjacent to a bus stop, main road or a junction)

A mini kirana shop (”petti” kadai or a Paan shop equivalent) which mostly stocks cigarettes & related stuff and a tea/coffee shop (standalone or part of the mini kirana shop) are also the necessities in the above areas.

A fancy store and a stationary store to meet the school going kids requirement are the other two shops you can find. They sell the typical bangles, bindhi, toys, greeting card, school maps, note books etc. Some of these shops also sell mobile SIM cards or one can find a exclusive Mobile stores which sells both the handsets and SIM card of all brands of SIM. (Even 10 years before it would have been hard to imagine a SIM card selling store in your neighborhood !!)

Already I can count 16 different types of stores/services to be offered.


A dhobi(Laundry) service, barber shop, tailor shop, cycle service centre, two wheeler repair/service centre, flour-mill are the typical services which you can find in the vicinity of the neighborhood. While these services mostly expects the customer to walk-in and get served, other service providers like electrician, plumber, electronics services engineer are
available on call.

Other Stores

Having the reach for three or four neighborhood clusters, these stores typically serve for a much larger audience. Some of these stores are electrical spare parts, general hardware, electronics items, automobile spare parts, paint shops, furniture store, sports shop, photo studio/development centre, household articles like vessels etc. In the food and grocery segment you can find a coffee powder vending shop, rice vending shop and oil vending shop. In the upmarket areas a florist is the recent addition one can see.

The major segments that are missing in the above list are – textiles & garments, footwear, luggage items and Jewellery. Though we can find stores of these type in our neighbourhood, typically the patronage for these segments is comparatively low. Guess most of the customers still prefer the large format stores present in the commercial areas over that of the neighborhood stores (at least for these segments).

On a further micro level you can find transient stores which specialize in only one product and usually sell at a particular time only – say a flower vendor who sells only flowers near a temple only during evening, a tamarind merchant hawking the tamarind on his cycle only during morning and so on.

We can also add a plethora of utility services to the above list – Photocopy services, Internet browsing centre, Courier services, Tours & Travel services, Tuition centres, Creches, …..etc etc.

As we can see there are almost 50 different types of retail products and services (excluding the govt/PSU based service like banks, Post offices ..) serving the consumer. It will be impossible for a single or several big players to dominate such a market. It will always be the story of both organized and unorganized retail co-existing together and as usual the Customer will be the king.