, India

Keells navigating the Covid -19 crisis with innovation and resilience.  

The company received two awards at the Retail Asia Awards 2021.

Twenty years since their first store opened, Keells Supermarkets continues to be at the top of its game. The chain now has 123 stores all over Sri Lanka, where it has become a household name and a highly valuable supermarket brand. 

Despite the 2019 Easter attacks and the COVID-19 lockdowns, the brand was able to expand by 14 stores and create sustainable value for a wider group of its stakeholders over the last financial year.

Not only has it grown exponentially, but Keells has also been at the forefront of sustainability and innovation. It is the first supermarket in Sri Lanka to commit to the reduction of single-use polythene by as much as 50% by 2025

These milestones helped Keells Supermarkets bag both Food and Beverage Retailer of the Year - Sri Lanka and Sustainability Initiative of the Year - Sri Lanka at the recently held Retail Asia Awards 2021.

Since repositioning the brand in 2018, Keells has focused on customer engagement by initiating important conversations at the right time in order to deliver newness and innovation. 

The company not only values its customers but also prioritises team members and contributes significantly to employees’ well-being.  Over the last year, despite the pandemic, Keells offered remote working arrangements, online training opportunities when possible along with an employee loyalty app for two way communication. Diversity is also a key priority at Keells, where women make up 49% of the team and where the youth are provided avenues to build their skills and capabilities .

To complete the cycle of inclusion, Keells ensures that their business supports local suppliers. The company sources 1,500+ tons of fresh produce a month from 2,500+ local farmers, even providing them technical assistance to grow sustainably. Of more than 700 suppliers at Keells, 92% are small and medium businesses and Keells works together to build their skills and quality standards.

Keells has also embarked on an important journey of becoming one of Sri Lanka’s most sustainable entities. In July 2019, Keells intended to influence customers and the industry by making a public commitment to halve single-use polyethylene usage, by 2025. With four years to go, Keells has reduced single-use polythene bags by 35% and in-store single-use food packaging by 21% by end of year 2019.

Across 60 stores, Keells has installed solar panels generating approximately 13,000kWh units per month per store across the chain. The company has also rolled out recycling bins to 43 stores, resulting in preventing up to 540Kg of plastic a month from polluting the environment. In addition, stores have replaced plastic corrugated point of sale material and seasonal décor with degradable alternatives saving over 765 kilos of plastic a month.

Watch the interview below to know more about their winning project:

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