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Robust track record

Amidst the wavering track record of several co-operatives, consumer co-operative Bardez Bazzar in Mapusa is steadfast in performance and nicely balancing growth with social cause, reports SHOMA PATNAIK
The co-operative sector in Goa has its fair share of problems. Defaulting borrowers in urban banks, doubtful quality of assets for credit societies, squabbling members, etc, are few of the problems that the sector is riddled with. So it is good to come across a co-operative that is robustly fulfilling objectives while maintaining sound financial health at all times.
Established in August 1989, The Bardez Bazzar Consumer Co-operative Society (head office in Mapusa) recently completed 25 years. Its nine stores are firmly entrenched in the market with residents displaying strong faith in them. Business volumes are increasing each year and profits on rise. Society membership is consistently growing, while dividend payouts are regular too with never a halt since inception.
Bardez Bazzar it turns out is the only co-operative in Goa to be affiliated to National Co-operative Consumers Federation, (NCCF) in Delhi. The membership with NCCF while adding prestige is beneficial for a number of reasons. It gives access to cheap finance for long-term capital expenditure and goods can be got at low rates from numerous NCCF depots in the country.
Both the benefits, says Dharma Chodankar, chairman, have not been availed as yet because the society is self reliant and does not need outside bolstering. The balance sheet, he points out is healthy reflected in substantial reserves and low level of debt. In fact borrowings in 2013-14 through cash credit at Rs 12 lakh is a fraction of Rs 5.7 crore net worth. And even these borrowing may come to an end in the current year as the process is on to discard the cash credit facility from bankers.
The co-operative, continues Chodankar, believes in meeting its aims sincerely. Thus, goods sold in the stores are always lower than MRP and stress is on quality Consumer satisfaction is top on the agenda and attempts are made to sell all provisions under one roof. The only goods that is lacking are white consumer goods such as TVs, fridge, clothing, etc, says Chodankar.
To address this plans are to build a Bardez Bazzar Mall in the next two years at a cost Rs 48 crore. Land for it at Mapusa is with the society but licenses are awaited before construction can begin. The National Co-operative Development Corporation (NCDC) in Delhi is assisting with the projects and officials from the body are in talks to push through the project, he says. Plans are also for more outlets in Panaji and Vasco but the goal is to have premises on ownership which means funds for purchase of land.
Meanwhile, a check into financials reveals that in 2013-14 the society membership is 3,199 individuals as against 2899 in 2012-13. The total business is worth Rs 31 crore, up 6.5 per cent over previous year and net profit earned is Rs 92 lakh. It was Rs 63 lakh in 2012-13. The year has been satisfactory says Chodankar and expectations are that 2014-15 will be a better with profits for the first time touching Rs one crore milestone.
A co-operative society, he explains, needs to works on fine margin so as to provide goods at economical rates to buyers. Thus turnover can only occurs from volumes and care is taken to meet customer requirements for business to fare well.
Bardez Bazzar comprises nine stores in Mapusa, Khorlim, Bicholim, Taj Sinquerim, Ponda, Margao, Highland, Calangute and a drug store in Mapusa. Sales are continuous throughout the year but festival times are when the crowds are the highest. A visit to the Mapusa store these days is interesting just to look at the crowded aisle and the shopping fervor that seems to be at peak.
The Mapusa store, says Yvette D’Souza, general manager is the flagship outlet receiving average footfalls of over 1,500 per day. This Ganesh Chaturthi, she adds, footfalls were over 2,000 in rush hours.
The Mapusa store is also the most profitable doing average business of Rs eight lakh a day, says Chodankar. Daily sales touched a record figure of Rs 14 lakh on Chaturthi days and all eyes are whether the figure will be scaled in Diwali. The Bazzar employs 130 permanent staff and employee dedication as well as loyalty of customers is clearly the reason for its success.

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