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Delhi Wine Club

Posted: Wednesday, 08 September 2010 12:18

Carrefour to Debut in India by November

Carrefour, world’s second-largest supermarket giant after US-based Wal-Mart announced last Friday that it hoped to open its first wholesale store in India by November, joining other international retailers trying to enter the huge and expanding retail sector.

The maiden store planned in Delhi will eventually lead to a string of hypermarkets for consumers in the fast-growing emerging market, according to the Indian subsidiary’s spokesman Franck Kenner.

Foreign players such as Carrefour, Wal-Mart and Britain's Tesco have been pushing for a government green signal that would fully open up India's $500 billion retail sector to foreign operators.

India's strict foreign investment policy (FDI) allows no overseas chains in the retail sector  except for single-brand outlets like Nokia, Nike or Reebok in order to protect local retailers, mainly mom and pop, kirana stores run by the family. But they are allowed to run as wholesalers (cash and carry). Recently, there have been signals of thawing with the government considering a 49% share for the foreign retail partner.

Carrefour, which declared profits in the first half because of growth in the emerging markets helping offset a weak European market, is planning to start on its own rather than wait for a partner as it has been in the past, with several negotiations not fructifying into any agreement, unlike Wal-Mart which has a tie up with Wal-Mart. But it will continue to search for a suitable partner, according to a report by AFP. The British giant Tesco also has an alliance with the Tata Group.

Kishore Biyani’s Future Group, the largest Indian retail chain with outlets such as Big Bazaar and Pantaloons has been most frequently named as a likely partner for Carrefour, but both sides have refused to make any statement to the effect.


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