Originating in the early 1900s, the concept of super shops quickly became popular among the masses. Although initially, super shop chains were common mostly in developed and industrialized North American countries, they rapidly rose in popularity in other parts of the world as well. By the late 1900s, China, India, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, and many other countries started to see their own super shop chains.
Bangladesh got its first supershop in 2001, thanks to Agora, then owned by Rahimafrooz Bangladesh Ltd. Because of the convenience and comfort supershops offer to our increasingly busy lives, the concept was welcomed by consumers, especially the middle- and upper-class people.
Consequently, other supershop chains started to enter the market, making them more available and accessible to all classes of people. In the last 20 years, more than 300 supershop outlets have been established all over the country, and more are expected to be launched soon. These retail companies and many others offer online shopping facilities as well.
The supershop chain brands in Bangladesh are working continuously towards making our day-to-day shopping experience more convenient, efficient, cost-effective, and pleasant. Today, we will explore the companies responsible for successfully implementing the concept of supershop chains in Bangladesh and contributing significantly to our economy.
With over 200 outlets in 31 districts, Shwapno is currently the top supershop chain in Bangladesh. ACI Logistics Limited launched Shwapno in 2008. With its aggressive expansion strategy, it quickly became well-known with branches all across the country. Now, Shwapno holds the position of market leader with a 49% market share.
Shwapno serves over 35,000 households every day with high-quality and convenient services that offer superior value. In 2016, Bangladesh Brand Forum and Kantar Millward Brown awarded Shwapno as the Best Retail Brand in Bangladesh. In the same year, it also received the Global G.A.P. Initial Membership because of the brand’s “Seed to Shelf” initiative. Through this initiative, Shwapno partnered directly with farmers to ensure farm fresh quality, safety, and highest nutrition of its products, promoting healthy living.
Because of its heavy focus on expansion and affordable pricing, Shwapno had not been generating profit for over a decade. Then finally in 2021, it started being profitable, generating a quarterly operating profit of 37 lakh BDT. In the fiscal year of 2021, it recorded the biggest year-to-year sales growth of 18.7%, earning 1,375 crore BDT from a turnover of 1,156 crore BDT.
Shwapno has also started to expand its operations abroad. By July 2022, Shwapno sent produce to three destinations, including Hong Kong, Dubai, and Sweden. Now it is planning to send fresh Bangladeshi produce to the UK as well.
Rahimafrooz Bangladesh Ltd. became the pioneer of the country’s supershop industry when it launched the first outlet of Agora at Shimanto Square in 2001. Currently, it has 19 outlets in Dhaka, Chattogram, and Sylhet. However, most of Agroa’s outlets are located in Dhaka. The supershop chain is estimated to have an annual turnover of 500 crore BDT.
Being the second largest supershop chain in Bangladesh, Agora has been inspiring many others to explore the industry. It also won the Best Superstore Brand award from Bangladesh Brand Forum in 2015. Agora believes in offering good quality products to its customers and ensuring ethical business practices through decentralized operations. As a result, it gained ISO 9001:2015 certification for it’s high quality management system.
To gain a stronger position in the Bangladeshi supershop industry, Agora got a new investor, Frontier Fund, in 2009. Beginning with a 49% share, later Frontier Fund acquired 72% of the company. However, in 2022, Agora’s ownership was transferred to a Sri Lankan conglomerate, Softlogic. Although not disclosed, the investment banking experts estimated that the value of the deal should be anywhere between 181 crore to 249 crore BDT.
3. Meena Bazar
Established in 2002, Meena Bazar is another popular supershop chain owned by the Gemcon Group of Bangladesh. Currently, there are 16 Meena Bazar outlets in Dhaka, Chattogram, and Narayanganj. Each outlet offers more than 10,000 products every day to its customers with a promise of a convenient shopping experience, competitive prices, and global standard customer service.
By procuring fresh produces and dairy products directly from the farmers, Meena Bazar claims to offer the highest quality of products. At the same time, by connecting with the farmers, the brand ensures the promotion and protection of the rights of farmers and contributes to their economic development.
In 2017, Meena Bazar launched MeenaClick, its e-commerce platform, which became popular very quickly. Because of its dedicated service during the pandemic, MeenaClick won the e-Commerce Movers Award (eCMA) in 2020.
In April 2022, Meena Bazar announced the implementation of a franchise model for further expansion. In September 2022, it opened its first franchise outlet at Shanir Akhra, Dhaka. It also offers home delivery to nearby areas.
A concern of the United Group, Unimart was established in 2013 as a hypermarket with an area of 40,000 square feet. It was the first of its kind – offering next-level retail experience by combining conventional supershop services with store-in-store shopping.
Unimart is well-known as a premium supershop chain, with three outlets located at Gulshan, Dhanmondi, and Wari. The Gulshan outlet serves around 200,000 customers each month. The supershop chain is also known for following contemporary practices in its offered goods and services, as well as business practices. In June 2022, Unimart partnered with Unilever and introduced the first supershop refill machine in Bangladesh to promote environmental conservation.
5. Daily Shopping
Daily Shopping, a concern of PRAN-RFL Group, is comparatively new in the supershop industry of Bangladesh. Since its inception in 2014, Daily Shopping has been trying to implement an aggressive expansion strategy like Shwapno. As a result, it now has 64 outlets in Dhaka, Cumilla, and Chattogram city. A flagship store of Daily Shopping was opened at Uttara in 2020. The chain also has an e-commerce site.
Daily Shopping is serving over 100,000 customers with over 30 product categories, including commodities, groceries, perishable proteins, snacks, dairy items, etc. It aims to make the shopping experience more convenient and accessible to people of all classes. Daily Shopping also offers products at highly competitive prices.
6. Almas Super Shop
Almas Super Shop offers services primarily to customers in Dhaka. With its three outlets in Dhanmondi, Bashundhara City, and Gulshan, this supershop chain serves thousands of customers every month. It also has an e-commerce site to reach more consumers with its services. Although Almas Super Shop is popular for its personal care products, such as cosmetics and toiletries, it also offers other categories of products too. These categories include groceries, fashionwear, household items, electronics, etc.
7. Prince Bazar Ltd.
Since its inception in 2005, Prince Bazar Ltd. has been striving to offer the highest quality of products at the lowest price possible, along with perfect customer service. It currently has four outlets at Mirpur, Shyamoli, Mohammadpur, and Pallabi. Its product categories include food items, personal care, home and living essentials, groceries, etc.
8. Amana Big Bazar
Amana Big Bazar was established by Amana Group in 2014. Whereas the supershop chain aspires to offer excellent quality foods and services, it also promises to make substantial contributions to the industry’s growth. It has nine outlets all over the country. The outlets in Dhaka are located at Uttara, Mohakhali, Adabar, Banani, Kakrail, and Shyamoli. Amana has other outlets in Rajshahi, Cumilla, and Natore. It also has an e-commerce site.
- Final Thoughts
Bangladesh does not have enough supershop outlets yet to serve the rapidly growing demand of the urban people. However, the current rise of supershop chains in Bangladesh is showing a promising future for the retail industry of Bangladesh. More and more supershops are popping up all over the country, especially in the suburbs. Additionally, the leading supershop chains in Bangladesh are investing heavily in the e-commerce sector, further improving the country’s economy. With this growth and development of supershop chains, we expect to see a more effective, efficient, and sustainable consumer market environment in the near future.