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Thursday, May 31, 2007

Manipal enters healthcare retail sans partners

After failing to work out a tie-up with Kishore Biyani’s Pantaloon Retail India Ltd (PRIL), Bangalore-based healthcare and education major Manipal Group has decided to go solo for its healthcare retail venture.

On Tuesday, the Manipal Education and Medical Group (MEMG) said it would launch the first two of its healthcare outlets in Bangalore and Ahmedabad in July under the brand name Manipal Cure and Care (MCC) with an initial investment of Rs 50 crore.

Apollo and Fortis are also eyeing healthcare retail and have announced extensive plans.

During the current year there will be 10 outlets in Tier I cities including Mumbai, Pune, Hyderabad. This will then be scaled to 50 outlets across India in the next four years. The group expects to generate revenues of Rs 50 crore in the first year— a very small portion of total revenues of Rs 1,300 crore.

Dr Ranjan Pai, CEO, MEMG, said MCC outlets, which would offer healthcare product and services with a focus on preventive, wellness and beauty, would have two formats - Shop-in-Shop (3,000 sq ft) and Club Class (7,000 sq ft). The Club Class would be standalone outlets on high streets, while a Shop-in-Shop would be established across malls, mega cities, health cities and hypermarkets.

MEMG is very particular about the location. One of the reasons it backed out of the PRIL alliance was because it was unable to secure a prime location.

“With the kind of experience that Pantaloon has in retail, we were very keen on partnering with them, but we did not want our outlet to be pushed to the fourth floor of a building. We wanted it in the front section of a mall or supermarket. When that did not work out, we parted ways with them,” said Pai.

The company also plans to introduce its brand of over-the-counter drugs named Cure and Care, which would be over 50% lower than established brands in the segment, in the next few months.

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