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Major brands/retailers eye small towns, rural markets for expansion

Companies across verticals are looking to open offline stores in smaller towns across the country. Online fashion retailer LimeRoad is looking to open 3,000 offline stores in the smaller towns in the next three years. The stores which will range in size between 600 sq ft and 800 sq ft will be owned by franchisee partners and operated by the company.

Textile manufacturer and retailer Raymond is expanding its exclusive retail outlets in Tier IV towns and beyond. The company has so far opened 200 small format retail outlets called Mini TRS (The Raymond Shop) in about 80 weeks in smaller towns with populations as low as 50,000. The plan is to open 100 more outlets in the coming six months. Raymond estimates there are 800 smaller towns in the country where it can potentially open small-format exclusive outlets.

Chinese handset maker Xiaomi is preparing for a bigger offline push by opening over 5,000 small format exclusive stores - Mi Stores - all over the country by the end of 2019. Xiaomi has already opened around 500 stores across 14 states, especially in Tier III and rural areas. The aim of these companies is to address the next potential market and increase their market share.

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