India retail

Economists and investors have turned optimistic about the Indian economy since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took over in New Delhi this May.

Sweeping to victory with a strong majority, the new Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) administration is expected to roll out a series of policy reforms that will kick start growth in Asia’s third largest economy. But has this triggered a boom in the Indian consumer sector too? Read more

A jeweller in Surat, Gujarat, has been the talk of the town – and the whole nation – after giving cars and apartments to hundreds of employees.

Savjibhai Dholakia, chairman of Hari Krishna Exports, handed out 500 Fiat Puntos, 207 apartments and 570 pieces of jewellery, according to the Guardian newspaper, which said that he would pay for his mysterious beneficence in installments “over the next few years.”

The scale of Dholakia’s generosity is unusual, but it is somewhat in keeping with Indian tradition. Throughout the country, offices are piled high with hampers of dried fruit and chocolates, gifts from companies to employees and clients, as India celebrates its festival of lights on October 23. Read more

Ratan Tata (pictured), who was the head of India’s powerful Tata group until 2012, ushered in a period of ambitious international expansion at the company. He is one of the most respected figures in the business community today.

On Wednesday, it was announced that the illustrious businessman has personally invested in Snapdeal, the online marketplace that is battling to win a share of India’s fast-growing market for ecommerce. Read more

Deutsche Post DHL, which makes money by shipping parcels around the world, plans to invest at least €100m in India over the next two years and is piloting a new e-commerce model for the Asia Pacific in the fast-growing market.

The move reinforces the recent take-off in India’s online shopping sector, as large platforms consolidate, infrastructure improves and internet penetration rises. Read more

The details of Gap’s move into the India yields insights into how Asia’s third largest market remains both very distinct from the West and at the same time increasingly similar.

In the US and European markets, womenswear is central to any brand’s expansion strategy, but in India this segment is dominated by traditional dress supplied by local companies. Thus, successful western retailers targeting India have either focused on menswear or on accessories, such as shoes and handbags.

But the strategy of San Francisco-based Gap reveals a market in flux. The group’s local franchisee, Arvind Lifestyle Brands Ltd, envisages the lion’s share of revenue still coming from menswear but at the same time perceives a growing following from women born after 1990. Read more

You may expect Dharavi, one of Asia’s largest slums, to be the picture of poverty and struggle.

In fact the area, which borders Mumbai’s modern financial centre, is also a hotbed of entrepreneurial activity – and this isn’t just traditional work making clay pots and poppadoms. eBay is providing a platform for many young people to start their own businesses. Read more

It’s all kicking off in Indian ecommerce. Flipkart, an ecommerce website founded by two former Amazon employees, raised $1bn in equity this week. Amazon itself quickly followed, with an announcement on Wednesday that it was investing a further $2bn in the country.

As competition becomes fierce at the top of the market, beyondbrics went to Bangalore to meet senior executives from Myntra, the fashion retailer that Flipkart acquired this year. Read more

All eyes are on China’s Alibaba, the e-commerce behemoth, and its planned US listing – not least from neighbouring India.

Senior management at Snapdeal, the online marketplace backed by eBay, are watching the initial public offering (IPO) closely as they mull a similar listing themselves. Co-founder, Kunal Bahl, told beyondbrics that the company could launch an IPO in 18 to 24 months’ time. Read more

The young assistants in the tiny store by the FT Mumbai bureau are exemplary shopkeepers. They have everything for those who ask – including imported chocolate for the homesick – even if it’s hidden in some dusty corner. They’ll deliver the odd item to your door and allow you to pay later if you don’t have cash. Sometimes they offer you the latest cricket score at no extra cost.

The great Indian bazaar has come under threat from organised retail and online shopping in recent years. But how might Narendra Modi, India’s new pro-business prime minister, shake up the retail industry while trying to spur manufacturing, consumer spending and overall economic expansion? Read more

Ritu Kumar is the Vera Wang of Indian bridal wear, one of the oldest and most coveted designers for Indian women on their big day. She’s also a big name for formal women’s fashion and even western clothing in India. Her stores are fondly known as “Ritu’s”.

The Everstone Group, the India and South East Asia focused private equity investor that recently invested in Burger King here, has now put Rs1bn ($16.7m) into buying an equity stake in the brand, part of a wider trend in investor interest in India’s luxury fashion sector. Read more

India’s Snapdeal, an online marketplace akin to EBay, is powering ahead, with sales growing five-fold between 2012 and 2013. But what is unusual is that it in a male-dominated society in which men hold the purse strings, it is women who are driving much of the growth.

Kunal Bahl, chief executive, says the company could realistically make sales of between $10bn and $20bn in the next five years. This compares to current annual sales of almost $1bn, according to Bahl. Read more

Last year, eBay began a partnership with Snapdeal, an Indian online marketplace, investing an undisclosed sum. Now it has said it will lead a funding round of over $133m in the company.

It is part of a wider move by international groups to foster the Indian ecommerce industry and a sign of consolidation in a sector which still has a lot of scope for growth. Read more

Raghuram Rajan, governor of the Reserve Bank of India, may be right when he dismisses the link between inflation and growth – if Indian shoppers are anything to go by.

Rajan has been hiking the repo lending rate since he took office in September, looking to control inflation. And quite right too, says KPMG: it seems that high inflation is hitting consumer confidence in Asia’s third largest economy. Read more

From flash ‘Guchi’ trainers to fashionable ‘Caiwen Kelai’ boxers, Mumbai’s popular Chor Bazaar (meaning “thieves’ market”) can fulfil all your luxury desires. Often for less than Rs100 ($1.62) a pop.

India’s market for counterfeit luxury goods is expanding at a compound annual growth rate of as much as 45 per cent, according to a new report from the the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India. But some analysts reckon the numbers themselves lack the ring of authenticity. Read more

Don't worry, it's not happening

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), having assumed power in Delhi just last month, is starting to deliver on the populist promises in its manifesto. On Monday, its target was FDI in multibrand retail as it took advantage of the opt-out clause and rolled back approvals for the state.

For foreign investors, it makes India that bit less attractive. Read more

Let's go shopping

We have a new class of customer in town, or in India at least – the “closet consumer”.

India accounts for just 1-2 per cent of the global market for luxury but this is set to rocket thanks to a newly wealthy section of the population, according to a new research from the Confederation of Indian Industry and IMRB International, the market researchers. Read more

Last year the Indian government eased the rules on FDI into single-brand retail, allowing 100 per cent foreign ownership. Yet Villeroy & Boch, the German-owned porcelain manufacturer, has chosen to come to India in a joint venture with a local partner.

It raises questions about the policy reform and whether foreign stores will set up alone in India – even if they are now allowed to. Read more

How do international brands such as Jimmy Choo and Burberry work in India? What makes Bottega Veneta and Canali sell in a nation where the GDP per capita is less than the price of many designer handbags?

Genesis Luxury offers an answer. Founded in 2008, the group works as local partner in India for these and many other high end brands, through joint ventures and marketing and distribution agreements. Read more

India has long struggled with its rules on foreign direct investment, especially in retail. There have been street protests over retail giants such as Walmart entering the country, as small retailers worry about the impact. And the reforms have been something of a mess, prompting as many questions as answers.

So did amendments announced on Thursday to FDI policy in retail clarify anything? Read more

Indian wholesale customers browse the newly-opened Walmart outlet in northwestern Punjab state's Jalandhar on August 4, 2010.Yet another glitch in the Indian government’s attempt to attract foreign direct investment.

Walmart, the world’s biggest retailer, has said it will not be able to use local suppliers for 30 per cent of its sourcing, one of the conditions on FDI in multi-brand retailing in India. Read more