Blog: Dean BestWrite off India's domestic retailers at your peril

Dean Best | 5 March 2010

For all the talk of Wal-Mart, Tesco and Metro Group making strides in India - as well as the speculation over when Carrefour will enter the market - it is sometimes easy to lose sight of the growth seen by the country's domestic retailers.

The likes of Pantaloon Retail and Reliance Retail are expanding across India and, although the progress of India's homegrown players may be mixed, the cards are right now stacked in their favour - principally due to the local laws restricting foreign ownership in the sector.

Another local group, Aditya Birla Retail, today (5 May) told just-food about its plans for expansion across India.

Aditya Birla's ambitions emphasise not just the potential for growth in India but also the level of resources necessary to gain a significant foothold in the market.

The retailer is backed by one of India's largest conglomerates, with interests in construction and mining, but still the company is looking to private-equity firms for cash.

Neverthless, the boss of Aditya Birla's retail business is enjoying the ride. "There is a huge queue of people trying to get into the store," Thomas Varghese told just-food as he stood outside the company's newest store in Mumbai. "It is unbelievable."

For the likes of Tesco and Wal-Mart, the fledgling but fast-growing Indian economy will demand a lot of patience - and also deep pockets.

And, all the while, the likes of Aditya Birla are setting out their own blueprints for growth.


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