Some 6 per cent of India’s population lives in slums and these communities have become powerful, both economically and politically. The slum dwellers’ low-end aspirational consumption could now be propping up certain sectors as demand wanes elsewhere.
As a first-time visitor with a textbook image of a slum in mind, standing at Mumbai’s Mahim train station at the threshold of Dharavi, one of Asia’s largest slums, you might expect some demarcation between the formal and informal world. Continue reading »
Last year, the Indian government changed its policy to allow 100 per cent FDI in single brand retail, removing the 51 per cent cap. Since then a stream of companies – from H&M to TM Lewin – have kicked off plans to enter Asia’s third-largest economy.
But there’s been a bit of a hiccup this week as government ministries have fussed over the specifics – and how to deal with British retail stalwart M&S. Continue reading »
Reshmi Khurana, Head of India for Kroll Advisory Solutions
The Indian government’s decision to allow greater freedom for foreign direct investment (FDI) in retail has paved the way for major foreign retailers to expand into this vast consumer market.
But foreign companies should take care. Even though New Delhi has lifted the legal barrier, it has not done so completely. Also, serious commercial, regulatory and political barriers remain in place. This will be tricky ground for years to come. Continue reading »
Global hypermarket chains such as Walmart, Tesco and Carrefour have been in no rush to set up shop in India since New Delhi’s September decision to permit up to 51 per cent foreign ownership of retail ventures.
For the most part, global grocers are concerned about the various conditions imposed on such enterprises, as detailed in the Financial Times, with very different rules for “multi-brand” vs “single-brand” retail. But that’s not the only problem. The experience of US-based office supply and stationary stores in India also stands as a cautionary tale for prospective investors. Continue reading »
The youth of India will rejoice. Their bank accounts will drain. And Zara will mourn.
Hennes and Mauritz (H&M) is coming to India. Continue reading »
As China, India and Indonesia become more wealthy, more of their consumers hard-earned cash could find its way overseas.
This is not about the most wealthy fleeing their homelands or investing their money abroad – but about what the massed ranks of an emerging middle class will buy for fun. Continue reading »
A quick stroll around Mumbai’s High Street Phoenix mall can be somewhat disconcerting for the average Mumbaiker. The eerily clean walkways are filled with the scent of expensive perfume. Shoppers can lust after Burberry trenches and Gucci bags displayed behind gleaming windows.
It’s not India as we know it, but it’s an increasingly successful slice of it. Longchamp, the French leather company, and Prada, the Italian fashion house, are the latest brands mulling entry into the south Asian nation as its luxury market grows. Continue reading »
You may have thought Jermyn Street was chalk to Colaba Causeway’s cheese: the London chap and Mumbai man are poles apart sartorially. But upmarket shirtmaker, TM Lewin, is looking to change all that.
The quintessentially British retailer has signed an exclusive franchise agreement with Brand Marketing India – the company that launched Calvin Klein Jeans and French Connection in the country – to market and distribute its products across the subcontinent. Continue reading »
Fresh indications that all is not well with India’s economy: exports fell and imports rose in November, delivering yet another big trade deficit. And it’s likely to get worse before it gets better – not a great outlook for the currency or for equities. Continue reading »
After years of waiting for permission to set up shop in India, Walmart should be heaving a sigh of relief, as it finally reaches the light at the end of the long dark tunnel of Indian policy-making.
India’s Congress-led government has approved foreign direct investment in retail, paving the way for the US-based retailer and its rivals such as Tesco and Carrefour to enter the market. The Indian Parliament gave its blessing to the policy, after contentious votes last week. Continue reading »
Indian retail reform finally secured parliamentary approval on Friday, with the upper house following the lower house in backing the move, which will allow foreign supermarkets into the country.
It should bode well for other imminent reforms, including insurance and pension fund liberalisation. But Prime Minister Manmohan Singh won approval only with the support of two regional parties outside his fragile coalition. As so often in India’s democracy, securing support for controversial changes requires luck and political cunning. It will be the same with future reforms. Continue reading »
Ikea may have thought its long struggle to enter the Indian market was over. Having waited patiently for the government to push through a series of reforms aimed at opening up the country’s retail sector – to single brand stores at least – victory appeared at hand.
But, having got to the front of the line, the Swedish group appears to have run up against an unexpected foe: the meatball police. Continue reading »
When it comes to internet users, India is growing fast. While the number of internet users globally rose 7 per cent last year, the figure was 41 per cent in India.
And this is creating some interesting opportunities – not least for clothing retailers. Continue reading »
In few countries would the opening of a coffee shop be treated as headline news, but that’s exactly the treatment Starbucks’ 4,500 square foot flagship Indian store in Mumbai received on Friday.
Throngs of journalists converged on the restored heritage building owned by the company’s local 50:50 partner, the Tata Group, to mark the entrance of the Seattle-based coffeehouse into the traditionally tea-drinking subcontinent. Continue reading »
Looks like Walmart’s emerging markets troubles are not limited to Mexico.
The FT reported on Thursday that the Indian government was investigating accusations that Walmart had secretly invested in local supermarkets, flouting a ban on foreign direct investment in the sector. Continue reading »