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David vs Goliath Style Battle Looms At Flagstaff

David vs Goliath Style Battle Looms At Flagstaff
EXtra Supermarket sign goes up on Flagstaff Plaza. It’s expected to open in mid-September. Photo: Mohammed Zulfikar.
August 02
16:16 2018

A commercial battle is brewing in Flagstaff, Suva.

The EXtra Supermarket Group, which opened for business last year, has secured a spot in Fineland Investments Limited’ new Flagstaff Plaza.

EXTRA’s first supermarket in TappooCity Lautoka has performed well.

But in Suva they will find themselves situated right opposite one of the branches of retail giant Carpenters’ Max Val-u chain.

Max Val-u has over 20 stores nationwide, making EXtra the underdog in this battle for customers and market share.

“We welcome them to Flagstaff,” says Carpenters Group retail and marketing director Kunaseelan Sabaratnam.

“I like to wish them all the best and we will all definitely fight for our market shares. We like competition but our business models are totally different so we complement each other.”

While the completion of the plaza has been delayed on earlier forecasts, EXtra’s director Kavishay Abhimannu expects to open for business by mid-September.

Mr Abhimannu declined to specifically comment on the EXtra/Max Val-u battle.

But, in a phone interview, he did speak briefly about competition in general between supermarkets in Fiji, that some are calling ‘supermarket wars.’

“Both Suva and Lautoka are major centres with large population and so competition is intense in both the locations,” Mr Abhimannu said.

“However, we are confident that our simple offer of wide range, competitive prices and focus on convenience and comfort in shopping will be appreciated by customers in Suva.”

It appears, however, that the battle is already beginning – not in the form of a price war crossfire, but in the parking lot.

Mr Abhimannu said: “In our Flagstaff store, we will have covered parking in the basement for 90 cars dedicated to EXtra Supermarket plus shared parking for another 50 cars.”

This number is significantly larger than the number Max Val-u can accommodate in the carpark behind its Flagstaff supermarket.

“The feedback that we have is that our customers appreciate the range of products we carry, our competitive pricing and the convenience that we offer in terms of air-conditioned stores, ample parking and friendly customer service,” Mr Abhimannu said.

Opening its second store in Fiji, Mr Abhimannu also talked about EXtra’s goals in Suva.

“From conceptualisation, our objective has always been to provide the best possible service to our customers,” he said.

“One of the important factors that determine the quality of service is the location of our stores.

“TappooCity in Lautoka is a very good location and since we got the opportunity to open there, our first store was in Lautoka.

“We have always had plans for opening stores in Suva and now we have found a good location and so we are opening in Flagstaff Mall in Suva.”

The competition will truly begin when the big plaza opens.

It is still unclear when that will be.



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