Global retailers eyes Indian market
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Global retailers eyes Indian market

By agencies   |   Monday, 21 November 2005, 08:00 Hrs
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NEW DELHI: Though the foreign direct investment (FDI) policy in the retail sector remains unclear, overseas players are bracing themselves for an entry and are firming up plans for the Indian market.

Close on the heels of the Wal-Mart Chief's visit to India earlier this year, the U.K.-based retailer Tesco's CEO, Terry Leahy, is slated to make his first visit to India next week. This visit gains significance, considering that Tesco Plc has cut by half its sourcing of Chinese textiles, since the European Union implemented quotas on shipments from China in June, which limited growth in imports from the country.

Now Tesco is looking at alternatives and is expected to increase sourcing from Indian textile firms. Another retailer with a strong European presence, Mother Care U.K. Ltd, is also gearing up to enter the country in a franchisee tie-up with Shopper's Stop and plans to set up about 40 outlets.

Other retailers, who have in the past established a presence here, also seem to be waiting in the wings.

The U.K.'s Marks & Spencer Group and Dubai-based Lifestyle International have already set up shop in India through franchisee ventures, while Germany's Metro and South Africa's Shoprite Holdings have entered the wholesale arena. By the next year a number of the U.K. retailers, including Next, Debenhams and Body Shop, are said to be considering an Indian foray.

However, pressure from the Left parties has kept the Government from opening up the retail sector. Currently, Indian retailing mostly takes place in small mom-and-pop shops and makeshift bazaars.

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