Bharti plots expansion drive

Bharti plots expansion drive

Bharti Retail plans to almost double the number of outlets it operates in India this year to secure its position in the country's rapidly-emerging retail sector.

A spokesperson confirmed that Bharti Retail, a unit of Indian conglomerate Bharti Enterprises, intends to increase its store base from the 80 outlets it currently operates to 150 locations in the coming months.

“The time is right for us to increase expansion,” the spokesperson said.

The bulk of the new stores will be opened under Bharti's Easyday neighbourhood format. The company also plans to double the number of Easyday Market hypermarkets it operates, from six to 12 stores. These openings will be targeted at India's high-growth urban areas.

Bharti Retail also operates cash-and-carry chain BestPrice Modern Wholesale in partnership with US retail giant Wal-Mart.

Last week, a spokesperson for Wal-Mart India told just-food that the joint venture intends to increase its pace of expansion over the next year.

The spokesperson confirmed that BestPrice Modern Wholesale openings were included in Bharti's 150-store target.

Bharti, however, declined to reveal how much it plans to invest in new store openings in 2010.