Many of you may know the names of global hypermarket retail chains like Walmart, Costco, Sam’s Club, or Carrefour. Reshaping the retail narrative in Bangladesh, a unique player has emerged – The Wholesale club. It’s located on the second level of the underground of Jamuna Future Park and stands as the largest hypermarket in the country.
Spread over an area of nearly 2 lakh square feet, Wholesale club is a testament to innovation and consumer convenience. Let’s have a look into the journey, offerings, and distinctive features that make Wholesale Club one of a kind.
Understanding The Hypermarket Concept
A hypermarket is essentially a supersized version of a supermarket. While regular supermarkets are usually between 5,000 – 20,000 square feet in size, hypermarkets start at about 80,000 square feet and go up to as large as 2 lakh square feet. Some of the biggest hypermarkets in the world like those operated by Carrefour are even larger than 3 lakh square feet! This massive size allows hypermarkets to offer a much wider range and assortment of products compared to regular supermarkets.
A typical hypermarket stocks anywhere from 30,000 to 100,000 different products covering everything from groceries, personal care, household needs, electronics, clothes, automotive supplies, books, toys, and much more. They try to be a one-stop shop for all shopping needs. Besides size, hypermarkets also emphasize low pricing due to bulk buying and high volumes.
So customers can expect to find good deals and discounts when shopping at hypermarkets compared to other retail formats.
Wholesale Club Introducing Hypermarket In Bangladesh
In the last decade, various super shops started to develop in the divisional and district cities of the country including Dhaka. Apart from packaged food and spice items, these super shops also have a clothing section ranging from grocery, fish and meat, frozen food, personal care, home appliances, and kitchen accessories.
In addition to products produced in the country, such super shops also have a collection of foreign imported products. Although supershops have very few options for domestic or foreign products according to the product category. Some super shops do not have foreign products or even all FMCG brands of the country.
Although the country’s super shop industry was growing, customers were not getting international quality service from the super shops. Besides, the big conglomerates of the country have established super shop retail chains all over the country, but no one has been working with the hypermarket concept. In the elite areas of Dhaka such as Dhanmondi, Gulshan, Banani, Baridhara, and Uttara, some super shop chains serve customers with two to three floors, but even in these super shops, many products of daily use are not available.
Wholesale Club’s Journey
The history of Wholesale Club is closely tied to that of its parent company Jamuna Group. Jamuna Group was founded in 1974 by renowned entrepreneur and freedom fighter Nurul Islam Babul. The group has businesses across manufacturing, media, real estate, and retail. In 2002, Jamuna embarked on constructing Jamuna Future Park, which would become South Asia’s largest shopping mall spanning over 36 acres.
After over a decade of development, Jamuna Future Park finally opened in 2013. With its massive size and wide range of outlets, it became a new landmark in Dhaka. Riding on the success of Jamuna Future Park, the group decided to launch Wholesale Club in 2019 – Bangladesh’s first hypermarket housed within the mall.
Wholesale Club was over 1.5 lakh square feet when it first opened, stocking products across food, beverages, apparel, electronics, and more. The hypermarket became an instant hit among shoppers hungry for an international quality retail experience. In 2021, under the supervision of Jamuna Group Director Sonia Sariat, Wholesale Club was expanded to 2 lakh square feet to accommodate even more categories and brands.
Currently, Wholesale Club offers products covering over 200 categories. From daily groceries to appliances to skincare to clothing, it aims to be a one-stop destination for any kind of shopping need.
Wholesale Club’s Services
What makes Wholesale Club stand out from other retail outlets in Bangladesh? Let’s look at some of its unique services and offerings:
Sourcing and Supply Chain
To ensure top-notch product quality and affordable pricing, Wholesale Club has built an extensive supply chain covering local and international vendors. It sources products directly from over 350 suppliers based in Bangladesh as well as imports from brands across the world. All products undergo rigorous quality inspections before being put on display.
To cater to local tastes, Wholesale Club stocks popular domestic brands across categories. For international exposure, it offers a wide range of imported goods that Bangladeshi consumers are now demanding. This combination of local and international products gives Wholesale Club its unique appeal.
Customer Service Experience
Shopping at Wholesale Club is designed to be convenient, engaging, and fun. It is open 7 days a week from 9 am to 10 pm, giving customers plenty of time to explore and shop. There is ample parking space given its location in Jamuna Future Park. The massive 2 lakh square feet store layout is cleverly designed so shoppers can easily find whatever products they need. For regular customers, Wholesale Club offers membership cards with exclusive deals and targeted offers.
It also has an online ordering system with home delivery, leveraging technology for convenience. On average, over 1,500 – 1,800 customers visit Wholesale Club daily, reflecting its rising popularity. During festivals and promotions, this number can go up significantly. Wholesale Club does not just want to be a supermarket, it wants to be a destination for shoppers to enjoy. Some hypermarkets even have dine-in restaurants for customers, which is also available in Wholesale Club.
Wholesale Club promises to meet customer demand and has increased product categories. In this hypermarket, from fish, meat, vegetables, rice, pulses, and fruits to various packaged food items, baby food, frozen food, bakery items, beauty & fashion, cosmetics and personal care items, medicine, electronic & home appliances, furniture, kitchen appliances, household & cleaning essentials – all items are available. Apart from that, other products such as books, sports items, various gift items, branded clothes, and even pet food are also available.
Wholesale Club has divided these products into four sections namely Food & Beverage, Protein & Perishables, Non-Food, and Bakery & Restaurant. In total, Wholesale Club currently has more than 50,000 products in 200 different categories, local and international, of which more than 20,000 products are directly imported from abroad.
Wholesale Club offers products from food brands like Nestle, Lipton, Kellogg’s, Kraft Heinz, Pepsico, Cadbury, and Wesson Oil, beauty and skincare like Cetaphil, Golden Rose, Flormer, Revlon, Sensodyne, Alix Avien and lifestyle brands like Adidas – which aren’t all together available in a single shop.
Exclusive Offers and Convenience
As a hypermarket catering to middle and upper-middle-class consumers, Wholesale Club has to go above and beyond to attract shoppers. Wholesale Club runs special discounts and promotions on a weekly and monthly basis. It has festive sales coinciding with Eid, Pohela Boishakh, Christmas, etc. where products are available at steel prices. Wholesale Club also frequently runs “flash sales” on certain categories to quickly liquidate stocks.
Through offering such exciting deals, it keeps shoppers hooked. The hypermarket’s bulk buying power allows it to offer lower rates than other retail chains in Bangladesh, while still maintaining profitability. Wholesale Club aims to be the most affordable one-stop shop for quality goods.
Future Prospects of Wholesale Club
Currently, Wholesale Club only has a single outlet located at Jamuna Future Park in Dhaka. But given its rampant success, Wholesale Club is likely looking to expand to other parts of Dhaka and eventually other major cities like Chittagong and Khulna. Most large hypermarket chains like to set up multiple outlets across the country to widen their reach. Setting up additional Wholesale Club outlets will also allow Jamuna Group to leverage its existing supply chain and retail management expertise.
The hypermarket format still being new in Bangladesh, Wholesale Club does not have any domestic competitors as of now. But with time, more hypermarket chains could emerge to take on the Wholesale Club. For now, though, Wholesale Club enjoys a first-mover advantage and plans to milk it by expanding in the coming years. The future looks promising for Wholesale Club to grow into a national hypermarket chain.
In just a few years, Wholesale club has set a benchmark for scale, variety, pricing, and service that did not exist before. It has emerged as the undisputed one-stop shopping destination for middle and upper-middle-class consumers. Its international quality standards fill a much-needed gap in Bangladesh’s retail landscape.
As Wholesale Club expands in size and across locations, we can expect it to become the most dominant hypermarket brand in Bangladesh. It has proven that the large-format hypermarket model can thrive here with the right mix of products, pricing, and customer experience. For any new retailer entering Bangladesh, Wholesale Club will be the case study to follow and compete against.