|Slogan||Hoş As, Hoş Baga|
(Good Food, Good Price)
|Key people||Founder and Executive Director Nurşat Kärim-ulı|
|Revenue||23 million Som (equivalent to fiscal year 2007)|
The Bars ("Snow Leopard") chain of food retail stores is a uniquely Central Asian take on the supermarket-type phenomenon. The first "Bars" food market was opened in Qaşgar, Uyguristan in 1978, and quickly spread all over Uyguristan and into Turkestan.
While the stores share a general appearance and aspect with their Western counterparts, in concept they are more like a covered market than a supermarket, with individual independent retailers given the opportunity to offer their wares inside. Thus, unlike a Western-type supermarket, a "Bars" Hyperbazaar is filled with individual counters manned by merchants who pay a small fee to operate in the store.
Initially, each merchant took payment directly from the customer, but recently, a switch has been begun to have a single checkout zone and pay the merchants their share from the store's takings. Under this new system, each merchant's goods are tagged with a bar-code that identifies which merchant the goods come from, so that payment can be made accordingly.
The system of charging a fee to set up a stall in a bazaar area is not a new one in Central Asia; however, the "Bars" stores altered this system by taking a percentage of each transaction rather than demanding a flat fee; also, in newer "Bars" stores, a lot of the paraphernalia, such as scales, counters and display containers, are provided.
The Bars system was the invention of the Uygur Nurşat Kärim-ulı, originally a merchant who worked his way up to be manager of one of the main bazaars of Qaşgar. He then sold his management rights to someone else and used the revenue gained to test his idea in one of the smaller bazaars.
Due to the cleanliness and honesty which Nurşat required of his merchants, the first "Bars" store quickly became known as a good place to shop, and began to gross bigger profits than several of the larger bazaars of the city.
Goods are generally more expensive in a "Bars" store than in a regular bazaar, so most common people still buy their goods at the numerous bazaars, but in the up-market food retail niche in Central Asia, the Bars chain dominates.