Specialty Store In Chennai Gains A Nation-Wide Following
Progressive Grocer|May 2018

Founded in 1999, Chennai-based Nuts ‘n’ Spices is a Specialty store that sells a large variety of products such as dry fruits, spices, herbs, health products, sugar-free products, imported chocolates and biscuits, imported dairy products, imported ice creams, frozen foods and many more gourmet products. The 33 Nuts ‘n’ Spices stores have an average store area of 1,200 sq. ft. with total retail area spanning 40,000 sq. ft. In the last fiscal, the chain grossed a turnover of Rs. 82 crore, which is impressive taking into account its Rs. 57 lakh revenue in the first year of operation.

Progressive Grocer traces the incredibly successful journey of Nuts ‘n’ Spices since its inception as a small Specialty store to attaining its current cult status as a destination food store for the health-conscious cosmopolitan crowd.

Sanjay Kumar

Nuts ‘n’ Spices was founded in June 1999 with its first store measuring 600 sq.ft. opening in Nungambakkam, Chennai. With over three generations of experience in the food and grocery business, the retailer currently operates a chain of 33 outlets, all across different locations in Chennai barring one store in the neighboring city of Coimbatore. Its 34rd outlet will open in Pondicherry by the end of May.

Nuts ‘n’ Spices current owner Sunil Sanklecha had envisioned a store that had a lucrative business in the country considering the numerous change in trends in consumer behavior. Though he had thought of the idea of a specialty store during the early 1990s, his vision only came into reality by 1999. When the moment came, Sanklecha confidently branched into launching a specialty store as he chose to move away from his grandfather’s and father’s traditional grocery business model. “It is a more specialized category where we have 3,500-3,600 SKUs across products like dry fruits, spices, orthodox tea, imported chocolates and biscuits, health foods, etc,” says Sanklecha, adding that Nuts ‘n’ Spices own store label contributes about 45-50 per cent of the overall sales today. It has categories like dry fruits, spices and tea. These are our main categories where we do an average of 30-40 per cent sales. The rest are gourmet food and health products.”

Dehydrated fruits like kiwi, mango, papaya, pineapple have also been recently added into the product mix. Besides nuts, dry fruits and seeds, Nuts ‘n’ Spices also offers a range of herbs and seasonings such as oregano, basil, thyme, parsley, mixed herbs, etc. The varieties of spice powders and condiments include Kashmir chilly powder, coriander seeds powder, cardamom, clove, cinnamon, nutmeg, among others. The store also stocks syrups and juices from International and Indian brands. From Pringles to Doritos to Mumbai’s sukhi bhel, low calorie namkeens, oil-free papads, mixtures and other diet snacks for the fitness freaks, the store serves as a one stop destination for a whole lot of snacking ideas. “We deal only with food products and don’t carry any non-food products. Even in the food category, we don’t carry staples, groceries, fresh & other daily needs supermarket products. Our primary focus is on value-added products like dry fruits, nuts, spices and all other premium food products associated with health and wellness,” says Sanklecha. “By the end of the day there are statistics to help us, take a call on whether to chase any of the products on sourcing, or whether we need to upgrade certain categories. Ninety-nine per cent of our products have a long shelf life. We do not deal with groceries at all or any fresh products. The only short shelf life categories that we have are curd, ice-cream, etc.”

Nuts ‘n’ Spices also sources and blends the very best orthodox tea. Oolong, black, green, white and black pearls from Darjeeling, Nilgiri and Assam are available in their in-house label, Cup ‘n’ Saucer. The teas are available in attractive gift packs in velvet bags, wooden boxes and zardosi pouches. Similarly, their variety of areca nuts, mouth fresheners and churans add attraction to the entire range. Apart from all this, the store’s value addition comes from its gourmet range of imported food products – pastas, noodles, sauces, fruit spreads, juices & syrup, frozen foods and ice creams. Also, the exotic range of imported biscuits, chocolates and confectionery tempts people from all age groups to visit the store again and again.

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