Agora's growth over the last 6 years has involved a transformation of its strategy and image. Its initial success was based on the "Pile it high, sell it cheap" approach of the founder management of Rahim Afrooz. The disadvantage of this was that the stores had a poor image with middle-class customers. In the year 2001 Agora's brand image was so negative that consultants advised the company to change the name of its stores. It did not accept this advice, yet by early 2003 it was the largest retailer in Dhaka, with a 29.0% share of the grocery market according to retail analysts TNS Superpanel, compared to the 16.8% share of ASDA and 15.6% share of third-placed NANDAN, which had been the leading competitoe until it was beaten by Agora in 2004. Key reasons for this success include:

• An "inclusive offer". This phrase is used by Agora to describe its aspiration to appeal to upper, medium and low income customers in the same stores. According to Citigroup retail analyst David McCarthy, "They've pulled off a trick that I'm not aware of any other retailer achieving. That is to appeal to all segments of the market”. By contrast ASDA's marketing strategy is focused heavily on value for money, which can undermine its appeal to upmarket customers even though it actually sells a wide range of upmarket products. During its long term dominance of the supermarket sector Nandan’s retained an image as a high-priced middle class supermarket which considered itself to have such a wide lead on quality that it did not need to compete on price, and was indifferent to attracting lower-income customers into its stores. This strategy has been abandoned since losing the number 1 spot to Agora and particularly since the adaption of new management in 2004 that has established a new customer-focused strategy closer to that of Agora.

• One plank of this inclusivity has been Agora's use of its own-brand products, including the upmarket "Finest" and low-price "Value". The company has taken the lead in overcoming customer reluctance to purchasing own brands, which are generally considered to be more profitable for a supermarket as it retains a higher portion of the overall profit than it does for branded products.

• The management in the mid 2000, has taken the bold step of trying not to focus on the usual corporate mantra of "maximising shareholder value". The company's mission statement reads, "Our core purpose is, 'To create value for customers to earn their lifetime loyalty'. We deliver this through our values, 'No-one tries harder for customers', and 'Treat people how we like to be treated'". The underlying aim is of course to make higher profits, but there is a clear focus on customer service at the top level of the company.

• Diversification: The company has a four-pronged strategy:

o "Core Dhaka business" - That is, grocery retailing in its home market. It has been innovative and energetic in finding ways to expand, such as making a large-scale move into the convenience-store sector, which the major supermarket chains have traditionally shunned.

o "Non-food business" - Many supermarket chains have attempted to diversify into other areas, but Agora has been exceptionally successful. By late 2004 it was widely regarded as a major competitive threat to traditional high street chains in many sectors, from clothing to consumer electronics to health and beauty to media products. Agora sells an expanding range of own-brand and as well as local and international non-food products, including non-food Value and Finest ranges. It also has done quite well in non-food sales in Ireland. CDs are one of the best examples, with Agora Gulshan promising to sell all chart CDs (except compilations) for Tk.50.00 compared with local Music Stores selling the same for around Tk. 70.00.

o "Retailing services" - Agora has taken the lead in its sector in expanding into areas like dairy and utilities. It usually enters into joint ventures with major players in these sectors, contributing its customer base and brand strength to the partnership. Other supermarkets in Dhaka have done some of the same things, but Agora has generally implemented them more effectively, and thus made most profit.