India’s telecom czar Sunil Bharati Mittal, which recently tied up with Walmart, the biggest retailer of the world today outlined broad contours of its investment plans. Depending on investments in the real estate and logistics, the company within four years, or by 2010, will invest US$ 7 billion in creating retail network in the country. This will include, opening 100 (large stores) hypermalls and several hundred small stores to cater to the growing needs of middle income segment comprising 300 million customers.
This investment is roughly 30% higher than Mukesh Ambani owned Reliance Retail, which plans to roll out 4,000 stores by 2011 at an estimated investment of US$ 5.5 billion. In retail business, comparing investments is rather irrelevant as the figures can differ substantially depending on who owns real the estate and the store premises. It may be recalled that Reliance made its retail foray with the launching of a cluster of 11 neighbourhood, convenience stores ‘Reliance Fresh,’ in Hyderabad on 3rd November, 2006. Since then, Reliance has added five stores each in Hyderabad and Jaipur, taking the current tally of stores to 21.