Amid this action, and confusion, one man, stock market investor Radhakrishna Damani - mostly unnoticed - went about making some of the most astute moves in business with his food and grocery retail company, Avenue Supermarts, better known as DMart. The result was that unlike peers, DMart became profitable within the first three years of starting operations in 2002.
Ashok Maheshwari, former executive director at DMart at present the CEO of infrastructure company Avenue Group, says DMart did not depend on disruptive gimmicks or innovations but abided strictly by the rule book of retail.
While the first store came up in Thane in 2002, by 2012, DMart had all of 55 stores (at present, it has 110 stores), predominantly in Maharashtra and Gujarat.
DMart also stayed away from malls and expensive high streets and set up stores in crowded residential areas.
"In 2004, DMart, with only three stores, was at 30 days or thereabouts.
So, if one visits a DMart store, one can be sure that it will be well stocked, but with limited brands.
Gupta says D'Mart is her sought-after destination for grocery shopping, as not only does she get good discounts (DMart offers a 5-6 per cent discount on food and other FMCG products as opposed to the 1-2 per cent discount that other modern retailers offer), the quality of the food products is also superior.
While there is no doubt that DMart has got its strategy bang on, the `40,000 crore valuation is clearly too high.