The significant growth of supermarkets owned, managed and franchised by people of Indian origin (mostly from India and Fiji) in Auckland and other parts of New Zealand over the past few years has created a wider choice for shoppers.
According to Pravin Singh, Director of Arkh Group of Companies, which incorporates Arkh Food and Spice, such a choice has also intensified competition, to cope with which, these supermarkets endeavour to add value to their products and services. These include lower prices, stock clearance sales and weekly or fortnightly specials.
While cost-effectiveness and lower prices attract customers, the need for innovation, diversification and expansion is also pronounced, he said.
According to Mr Singh, the recently renovated front portion of Arkh Food and Spice outlet is modern in its appearance.
A new complex next to the existing building, comprising butchery and a fruit and vegetables shop will become operational shortly, offering customers a one-stop shopping facility, he said.
“Customers are well informed of the products available not only in New Zealand but also in major markets of India and Fiji. People travelling to these countries purchase a number of items, which soon become their favourites. We have seen growing demand for several such products,” he said.
Exclusivity is the wont of Mr Singh, who has been in the supermarket business for more than two decades, some years of which were in his native Fiji.
Migrating to New Zealand (from Labasa) in 2002, he established Arkh Food and Spice, primarily to retail a wide range of spices and other products.
The firm’s spacious (about 1200 Sq m) retail store located at 222 Swanson Road in Henderson is one of the most prominent supermarkets of its type in West Auckland. The family company takes pride in getting to know its customers and their tastes and preferences.
“Market knowledge enables us to seek improvements in the products made available to our customers. Rather than depending on local traders, we decided to import products directly from manufacturers and primary distributors in India, Fiji, Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore and China thereby enhancing our range. Apart from sourcing these for our own retail purposes, we also make available an increasing range of products to others in the country,” Mr Singh said.
“While spices and bulk food items from India and other parts of world are widely used by other ethnic groups, we have expanded our imports to include food items from Pacific Islands. These have earned the goodwill of thousands of people,” Mr Singh said.
Arkh Food and Spice offers a wide range of groceries and household needs, including fresh vegetables and fruits imported from Fiji at least twice a week, Indian bulk foods, top quality spices, Island foods, quality Kava, frozen goods and Pooja items.
Mr Singh said variety alone was not sufficient to attract and retain customers.
“There was a need to import branded products and provide them at affordable prices. At Arkh, we understand that many discerning customers will patronise exclusive brands and products that would meet their specific requirements,” he said.
The Company imports a number of well-known brands. Among them are the following:
Eraser Skin and Personal Care products including Anti-Marks Cream, Foot Cure Cream, Anti-Cellulite Cream, Face Scrub Cream, Sunscreen Cream, Wet Face Pack, Herby Scrub Soap, Premium Rose Water.
Three Cook and Arkh Brand, comprising Soya Bean, Canola and Sun Flower Oil
Golden Camel Jasmine and Long Grain Rice
Sunwhite Medium Grain and Sunlong Long Grain Rice
Soft Love Baby Diapers
Sudso Washing Power
“Apart from these products which have earned the loyalty of our customers, we are constantly assessing the evolving trends in the market and updating information on new products that are introduced in major Asian markets. It is through such market analyses that we discovered ‘Leila Ghee’ as a healthy brand in Singapore. As importers and distributors, these products are in the market and at Arkh Food and Spice and other selected retail stores in New Zealand,” Mr Singh said.