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Saturday, Oct 16, 2021
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The Crop Shop

From toothpaste to tractors, this rural mall has it all

The Crop Shop
Narendra Bisht
The Crop Shop
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53
Rafiqganj, about four kilometres from Sehore town in Madhya Pradesh, is not a city, nor even a one-horse town. It is a little village...except that it boasts of having the first rural shopping mall in the country. Chaupal Sagar, set up by cigarette giant ITC, stands on an eight-acre plot with a shopping area of 7,000 square feet.

Along with soaps, detergents and toothpaste, the mall sells almost everything—TVs, DVD players, pressure cookers, room heaters, watches, sewing machines and grinders. And, of course, cigarettes. Farmers can also buy motorbikes, or even tractors. ITC has launched its own rural range of clothing and shoes too—trousers at Rs 166 a pair tailored for the village folk.

The mall seems to be doing brisk business. Though its launch is in the first week of October, it has informally opened its doors to buyers. ITC says the daily sales is already between Rs 70,000 to 80,000. TVs and DVD players are among the costlier items that have found rural customers. "The idea is to create a one-stop destination for farmers," says S. Shivkumar, chief executive...

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