Online grocer EkStop being shut after buyout by Godrej; half of 200 employees to go

Godrej Group is consolidating the operations of online grocer EkStop, which was jointly run by EkStop Shop Pvt Ltd and Buy Daily Retail Pvt Ltd, in a bid to push the e-com sales of its own offline gourmet food retail chain Nature's Basket, sources privy to the development told VCCircle.

As a part of this, half of the 200 odd employees spread across HR, marketing and administration units of EkStop have been asked to leave the firm, one of the source said requesting anonymity.

Currently, EkStop.com shows a message that it is undergoing infrastructural changes and hence not available.

A formal announcement of the integration of the two sites into one sporting the mother brand is expected within two weeks, sources said.

Meanwhile, the top management of EkStop has been brought in to work for Nature's Basket's own online platform. EkStop co-founders Sumat Sunil Chopra and Shaurya Mehta will head the online business of Nature's Basket.

The duo had started EkStop in May 2011 with the site going live one year later. An alumnus of INSEAD business school and Carnegie Mellon University, Chopra has previously worked with Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Microsoft Corporation and Tata Capital.

Mehta (co-founder & COO), who is also from INSEAD and associated with University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, has formerly worked with Deloitte and GE Healthcare.

Emails sent to Chopra and Mehta and Nature's Basket did not elicit any response.

This marks a different business strategy compared to Mahindras, who also inked a similar deal where they acquired baby products e-tailer Babyoye. Mahindra Group runs an offline retail chain for baby products under Mom & Me, which also has a separate e-com site selling products online.

In a parallel but unrelated development, Mahindras are reportedly shutting down the separate Momeandmeshop.in site and will follow a dual branding strategy with Babyoye as the online sales property and Mom & Me as the physical retail chain.

At the beginning of the year, Nature's Basket had tied up with horizontal e-commerce marketplace Snapdeal to sell products online. The firm has been looking to expand its online presence and EkStop.com was part of this inorganic expansion.

Some of the other grocers include AaramShop, BigBasket, ZopNow, MyGrahak and LocalBanya. Some of these are regional or city based ventures like EkStop, which had over 8000 products on offer with deliveries in Mumbai, Thane and Navi Mumbai through its in-house logistics and warehouses.

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