Aditya Birla Retail, the unlisted retail arm of the Rs. 40,000 crore Aditya Birla Group, which decisively entered organised retail with the acquisition of 20 years old, Hyderabad based, well established, over 172 supermarket and convenience stores strong “Trinethra” super retail chain, across the southern states of India has decided to go it alone without seeking any partnership or joint venture arrangements with any foreign retail major.
It may be recalled here that only a few weeks back, telecom major Bharati has entered into a joint venture agreement with the world’s biggest US$316 billion retailer Wal-Mart for setting up back-end logistic and supply chain operations as well as cash and carry retail business in India. Tata owned Infinity Retail has similarly joined hands with Australian retail major Woolworth to manage sourcing and technicals for its retail chain “Croma,” which has plans to set up 30 stores across the country this year to sell consumer electronic durables.
Among other major players, Reliance Retail, which has already opened 22 neighbourhood convenience stores under the brand name of “Reliance Fresh” in Hyderabad and Jaipur, has like Birlas decided to seek no foreign partner for its Rs. 25,000 crore multi format retail roll out.
On the contrary, two other major retail players, namely, Kishore Biyani owned Pantaloon Retail and K. Raheja owned Shoppers’ Stop, which are not only already listed on the stock exchanges but have also registered national presence, have made licensing arrangements with several foreign player for the use of specific brands, products or formats. For example, Shoppers’ Stop is a master franchisee for ‘Mothercare’ (pregnancy and parenting products) and has agreement with the swiss group ‘Nuance’ to set up duty free shops at airports, while Pantaloon has reportedly made arrangements with ‘Starbucks’ (for Coffee shops) and has floated joint venture with Alpha Airports to set up shops at newly modernised airport in India.