Woolworths eyeing India

ww_logo_med Woolworths (The Fresh Food People), Australia’s largest food retail chain, which has recently signed an agreement with Tata owned Infiniti Retail Ltd., is eyeing India’s retail market when the government opens it up to foreign firms.The Australian firm will evaluate its options if the government liberalises investment rules for foreign retailers, former CEO Roger Corbett, who is now a Woolworths consultant, told Reuters in an interview.

“If they were to open up, yes certainly Woolworths Australia would be very interested in looking at opportunities in India, but those opportunities would be in partnership with Tata,” said Corbett.

He said India would attract some of the best global retailing firms if the sector were deregulated and Woolworths itself would look at opportunities beyond electronics and durables.

“Food retailing and general store merchandising are certainly aspects of our business that we would consider bringing to India,” he said.

Retail consultancy Technopak Advisors has estimated the size of India’s retail industry at about $300 billion and forecast it to grow to $427 billion in 2010. Presently, branded retail makes up only 3 percent of the market, compared to China’s 20 percent and Thailand’s 40 percent.

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