Plans afoot to open more HPCL retail outlets

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New Delhi, Jun 29 (UNI) As part of its moderisation drive, State-run Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd (HPCL) is undertaking a thorough review of its retail outlets with a view to upgrading them to world standards and working out further expansion plans.

''Modernisation work at our retail outlets is in full steam,'' HPCL Director (Human Resources) V Vizia Saradhi told UNI here.

At present, the company has over 8,000 retail outlets across the country.

Mr Saradhi said the oil major, at present, is drawing up a roadmap for its future expansion plans relating to the retail outlets.

''Once this reviewing process is over, we will take a call on expansion of our retail outlets,'' he said.

The official, however, did not disclose details of the plan.

On an average, the company opens from 350-400 outlets every year.

A phenomenon which has made petrol pumps attractive is the convenience stores adjoining the petrol pumps. Shopping in the convenience stores has become an experience ever since these came into existence. People who visit petrol pumps find it easy to get down and buy groceries and other goods of daily use. From humdrum petrol filling, a visit to a petrol outlet is now fun.

The change is in line with the general mood of the urban middle class regalling in the consumerist boom. A special point about these convenience stores is that they open early and close late, beating the time regulated markets. This adds to their popularity of companies like HPCL as well as the petrol pumps and helps build a sort of a brand. It also means additional income for the owners of petrol pumps, especially in view of the fact that margins in selling oil are under squeeze.

The rapidly growing population, the ever increasing incomes of the middle class and the larger and larger number of vehicles on the roads are the reasons why HPCL finds it necessary to open more retail outlets.

The State-owned oil companies, namely Indian Oil, Hindustan Petroleum Corporation, Bharat Petroleum and IBP have network across the nation. These firms have petrol stations in remote areas too where business may not be as lucrative as in big cities.

They supply quality petrol both un-leaded and pre-mix (that is mixture of lubricant and petrol) at most of the petrol stations.

These government-owned companies own more than 34,000 pumps and the day is not far off when this figure would grow exponentially.

UNI SBA SG KP1139

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