Organic food business grows four-fold in 3 years

Growing health consciousness and awareness about harmful pesticides has nearly quadrupled the size of organic foods in India in the last three years. Organic foods, which started out by occupying fewer shelves at retail stores, is now a Rs 300 crore business in the domestic market. The export market from India is even bigger at Rs 700 crore, according to industry experts.

Consumers are opting for healthier eating habits which is driving entrepreneurship in organic foods, prodding retailers to offer greater shelf space to brands in this category. As per industry estimates, the category is currently growing at 50 per cent per annum.

Industry experts believe with growing talk about the bad effects of chemicals and pesticides used in the food industry, products that are believed to be free of such substances will grow exponentially.

“Three years back, this market was approximately Rs 70 crore. We are growing at a very healthy rate year on year. In the last 5 years, shelf space given to organic foods has tripled. However, retailers are yet to realize the full potential,” said N Balasubramanian, CEO, Sresta Natural Bioproducts, who claims its brand 24 Mantra is the largest player in organic foods in India.

The company is present in key categories like atta, brown rice, honey, tur dal, turmeric, juices and breakfast cereals in organic foods.

Given the growth of this market, 24 Mantra, which is present in more than 125 cities across India, is planning to extend to ready to cook traditional products like pongal, poha, khichdi and millet dosa as well.

Mohit Khattar, MD & CEO, Godrej Nature’s Basket said awareness around polluted ground water near industrial area, increasingly chemical laden environment in general or the harmful impact of chemicals in day to day food has added to the consciousness of consumers. “It definitely makes them want to change simple things around them. And one of the things they can change easily is adopting a healthier and more sustainable way of life. It is this context that organic products are seeing increased acceptance and growing popularity,” said Khattar.

Godrej Nature’s Basket, which has been a pioneer in bringing and selling organic products like tea, pasta, sauces, across its stores, plans to enhance the range of organic options further and making the availability of these more consistent.

Organic packaged food comes at a premium to the regular variety of packaged commodity. If the monthly household expense for a family of four on grocery is in the range of Rs 4,000 to Rs 5,000, a switch to a brand of organic food would cost Rs 1,200-1,500 more per month. “This is almost the same as what a family would spend on a movie outing over a weekend,” said Balasubramanian.

Retrieved from – http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/business/india-business/Organic-food-business-grows-four-fold-in-3-years/articleshow/48646912.cms

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Broken link in the agricultural supply chain

In the season of elections animal spirits rule. India’s equity markets have been ebullient for some time now. Spurred by a robust inflow of foreign investment capital, markets have reacted favourably. A lot now depends on the ability of the next government to enact meaningful structural reforms, especially in a sector such as agriculture that requires modernization. Will things turn out as expected?
Reforms in agriculture are important for more than one reason. Apart from the huge number of people it employs, fortunes of the retail sector depends on what happens in farms. Infact, FDI in retail and modernization of agriculture are two faces of the same coin.
As far as the economic implications of retail FDI go, attention has been focused exclusively on its impact on the livelihood of local retailers, who are likely to take a hit on competition from the likes of Wal-Martand Tesco. The ability of local retailers to organize into an effective lobby voicing their concerns could perhaps explain this. The actual implications of retail FDI, however, are likely to extend well beyond the narrow confines the debate has been limited to.
Indian farmers are likely to be the biggest beneficiaries of a competitive retail sector, given the imbalances in the agricultural produce market. Restrictions imposed by the Agricultural Produce and Marketing Committee (APMC) Act have effectively barred them from selling their produce at remunerative prices, restricted the size of their potential market, and, most importantly, prevented competitive bidding for the produce.
Currently, the agricultural supply chain is monopolized by powerful middlemen and politically influential local groups who control mandis or wholesale markets—resulting in a huge wholesale-retail price gap. There could be little doubt that allowing FDI in retail, when complemented by scrapping the APMC Act to open up the market for wholesale procurement, will help farmers command better prices for their produce. It is likely to lead to better farming returns, increased production and lower prices for customers.
Insufficient investment in cold storage and other supply chain facilities is another major worry, but something that has been ignored for long. A study by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham) and Yes Bank points to the enormous shortage of warehousing capacity in India, estimated at around 35 million tonnes. The food grain wastage owing to the shortage is estimated at around 20% to 30% of the total harvest.
The reasons are not hard to find. India’s agricultural storage infrastructure was created at a time when food grains such as rice and wheat formed a disproportionate part of food consumption. It was assumed that dietary habits would remain constant for the foreseeable future. It made sense when rural incomes did not rise significantly. Even in urban areas, where food consumption was more diversified, demand for food grains remained high.
That pattern has changed dramatically in the last decade. With rising urban and rural incomes, food consumption has diversified greatly. Milk, eggs and other protein-rich diets are now a significant part of the food basket. A great part of food inflation is protein inflation, as the demand for these foodstuffs greatly outstrips supply.
Changing this requires fixing the broken supply lines with agricultural markets. For example, transporting milk to cities does not require food storage facilities but chilling plants and fleets of trucks equipped with cooling units. These investments need FDI in agricultural markets that cannot be made by governments not only due to financial constraints but also due to lack of expertise.
Given the gains that farmers and—more importantly—consumers could potentially reap, reforms aimed at strengthening the agricultural supply chain will obviously be welcome. However, reforms uprooting today’s deeply entrenched special interests will be hard to come by unless the political weight of farmers and consumers is combined for better results.
Retrieved from – http://www.livemint.com/Opinion/Vpm7RO8SnhkpCtC8QWPwSN/Broken-link-in-the-agricultural-supply-chain.html

A Call to Farms

So you thought agriculture was a poor man’s business and the high-profile financial world of Dalal Street was the only place to make big bucks, right? Wrong. Actually, many Indian lords of the field are raking it in with simple commodities such as potatoes, maize, rice and soybean, with their success attracting big private equity deals at a time when the rest of the economy is in the grip of a slowdown.

Business Today has picked four agricultural barons to look at how they hit pay dirt.

A Call to Farms

Anil Agrawal, Anil Mittal, Rahoul Jain and Jang Bahadur Singh Sangha

Take Cornell University-educated Jang Bahadur Singh Sangha, for example, who bet big on potato and maize when Punjab was growing more lucrative crops such as wheat and paddy. Today, the Sangha Group is the largest potato and maize producer in the country.

Then there’s Anil Mittal, Chairman and Managing Director of India’s top rice exporter, KRBL, who has given India one of its best-known brands, India Gate, and clocked sales of Rs 2,100 crore in basmati.

Some like Rahoul Jain, MD of Capricorn Food, have made their fortune in more unconventional crops. Jain is one of the country’s top mango processors and has just received an infusion of Rs 60 crore from private equity firm Quadria Capital.

Little-known Sanwaria Agro Oil’s Director Anil Agarwal is another agricultural baron who tapped his family’s years of expertise in the soybean business to convert it into a Rs 2,000-crore company.

How did we pick these agricultural barons? Simple, these five commodities represent areas of core need. More importantly, they are also relatively free from frequent government intervention and these entrepreneurs have used innovative technology in businesses that for years saw little or no change at all.

Today, agricultural commodities are more relevant than ever before as India Inc struggles with an economic slowdown and galloping inflation.

Food for Thought: India’s food expenditure has shifted towards high-value foods in the last decade, growing at an average of 8 per cent annually

According to a McKinsey-CII study, the agricultural processing business has the potential to grow to Rs 5.7 lakh crore in 2030 from Rs 1.1 lakh crore in 2011. Food exports are expected to rise to Rs 7.7 lakh crore in 2030 from Rs 1.4 lakh crore in 2011. Mangoes, bananas, potatoes, soybean and poultry are expected to lead the rise.

Despite the potential, Indian agriculture is beset with problems. Vast tracts of agricultural land have been lost to non-agricultural uses because of rapid industrialisation and urbanisation. Moreover, declining per capita land availability and shrinking farm sizes are also responsible for the slow performance of agriculture. To make things worse, Indian agriculture is dependent on the vagaries of nature, and low mechanisation and power subsidies remain big worries.

“The major issue is that governments do not recognise the farm-to-fork needs of the farmer. Most of the policies are aimed at assisting farmers at field, but major bottlenecks are there when it comes to marketing the produce,” says Rakesh Kumar, who heads Nalanda Organic Vegetable Growers’ Federation.

Still, agriculture remains the one ray of hope for the economy. According to CRISIL’s State of the Nation report, agriculture is set to bounce back because of a bountiful monsoon. As the largest sector in the country employing 52 per cent of the population, it continues to weigh in on GDP growth. “Farm GDP growth could more than double from last year … This will help check food prices and support rural consumption,” it says.

Retrieved from – http://businesstoday.intoday.in/story/india-agricultural-companies-growth-future-plans/1/200966.html

Hindustan Unilever forays into premium basmati rice

Hindustan Unilever has entered the premium rice market with the launch of Gold Seal Indus Valley basmati rice, almost a decade after scaling down its commodity business.

An HUL spokesperson said the brand, which was being exported to countries in the Middle East till now, would now be made available in select Indian cities through the modern trade channel before taking it to other cities in a phased manner next year.

HUL has entered the premium rice market with the launch of Gold Seal Indus Valley basmati rice, almost a decade after scaling down its commodity business.

HUL tried to ramp up its packaged foods portfolio by launching wheat flour, soups and sauces a decade ago. It later scaled back its presence in flour and salt and withdrew from biscuits market due to low profit margins.

The company plans to keep Gold Seal Indus Valley basmati rice in the premium segment rather than competing with popular brands such as Kohinoor and Daawat.

Retrieved from : http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/articleshow/27610246.cms?utm_source=contentofinterest&utm_medium=text&utm_campaign=cppst

Walmart chickens out but Tesco makes leap of faith with Tata Trent

Shares in India’s Trent surged 8 percent in opening trade after retail giant  Tesco said on Tuesday it had applied to buy a 50 percent stake in the company’s unit, Trent Hypermarket Ltd.

The world’s third-largest retailer, which already has a franchise agreement to provide support to Trent’s Star Bazaar chain, has made an application to India’s Foreign Investment Promotion Board and plans to invest $110 million ( Rs 680 crore). Under rules framed in September last year when the UPA government decided to allow FDI in multi-brand retail, foreign investors were required to invest at least $100 million in the retailing venture.

Trent Hypermarket runs a discount hypermarket format under the brand name Star Bazaar. Currently there are 15 Star Bazaar stores in the country: three in Mumbai, four in Bangalore, two in Ahmedabad and Pune, one each in Aurangabad, Surat, Chennai and Kolhapur.

For Tesco, the deal is an extension of existing relation with Tatas in the retail sector. It is already a wholesale supplier of merchandise to Star Bazaar. Welcoming Tesco’s India plans, Commerce Minister Anand Sharma said Tesco’s India investment will help transform India’s retail sector.

“A marquee name like Tesco would mean an endorsement for destination India,” Arvind Singhal, chairman of retail consultancy Technopak Advisors, was quoted as saying by the Business Standard.

Reuters

Here is all you need to know about the deal:

1. Tesco will become the first foreign chain to invest in supermarkets in India since FDI was allowed in the retail space last year. It would even steal a march over global rival Walmart which split up with Bharti Enterprises two months ago.

2.The retailer has applied to India’s Foreign Investment Promotion Board for permission for an initial $110 million investment in the Tata Group’s retail business Trent Hypermarket Limited.Tesco has proposed an equal joint venture with its existing partner, Trent, a Tata group company, to open stores initially in Maharashtra and Karnataka. So basically, the proposed partnership will operate and build on the existing portfolio of Star Bazaar stores in Maharashtra and Karnataka only, as the other two states where Star Bazzar is present— Gujarat and Tamil Nadu— have banned foreign investment in retail.

3. The UK-based retailer will trade in products under 14 categories, including cereals, tea, coffee, spices, flour, vegetables and fruits, meat, fish and poultry, sweetmeat, bakery and dairy products, soft drinks, ice-creams, wine and liquor, textiles, footwear, crockery, furniture and electronic equipment among others and plans to open three to five stores every financial year.

4. The current market capitalisation of Trent stands at Rs 3,825.28 crore. The company has reported standalone sales of Rs 280.14 crore and a net profit of Rs 15.6 crore for the quarter ended September 2013. Currently Trent Hypermarket has a franchise and a wholesale supply arrangement with Tesco and its wholly-owned Indian subsidiary, Tesco Hindustan Wholesaling Pvt Limited, respectively. The exclusive franchise agreement grants Star Bazaar access to Tesco’s retail expertise and technical capability.  Trent at present operates Westside, a fast growing chain of retail stores. The company has 74 Westside departmental stores.

5. Trent vice-chairman Noel Tata said: “The application is a positive step forward in the relationship between the Tata group and Tesco. We believe that our understanding of the Indian market coupled with Tesco’s unparalleled global retail expertise will allow us to leverage the tremendous potential of the market to the benefit of all stakeholders.”

6.Tesco has stores in countries such as China, South Korea, Thailand, Malaysia, Poland, Hungary, Ireland, Slovakia, Czech Republic and Turkey. Tesco was formed in 1919 by a Polish emigrant Jack Cohen who started selling groceries from a stall in Hackney in London’s East End.

7. In September last year, the government had allowed 51 percent FDI in the sector with certain riders like mandatory sourcing from Indian SMEs and investment in back-end infrastructure. Due to the conditions, global retailers, including US-based Walmart and Tesco had refrained from sending formal proposals to the government. Following its meetings with both domestic and international retailers, the government in August 2013 eased the norms to make the segment lucrative for retailers.

Retrieved from: http://www.firstpost.com/business/walmart-chickens-out-but-tesco-makes-leap-of-faith-with-tata-trent-1293267.html?utm_source=ref_article

Branded Spices gaining flavour in Indian households

India’s domestic spices market is estimated at 5.3 mn tons, with branded segment contributing 20% in value terms. This segment is growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 14% in value terms and is expected at a CAGR of 12% to 15% in the next four to five years.

Branded spices market in India is showing a healthy growth following a shift in buying patterns of consumers observed during the past decade. Now the preference has changed to ground spices instead of whole spices- a trend more visible in urban areas, according to a new report by Rabobank titled Decoding Spices, India Emerging as a global hub for processing spices.

India’s domestic spices market is estimated at 5.3 mn tons, with branded segment contributing 20% in value terms. This segment is growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 14% in value terms and is expected at a CAGR of 12% to 15% in the next four to five years.

Direct household consumption of spices (whole or powder) has remained constant, ranging from 3.4% to 3.6% of total food expenditure in households, however, consumption of spices in quantity terms has grown through increased expenditure on processed food products such as snacks and beverages including at home and out-of-home consumption.

Highlights
– Indian market preference for spice blends and mixes are rising.
– Organised retailers have launched private labels.
– Increased demand is observed in seasonings, oleoresins, extracts for various food and non-food applications.

Retrieved from – http://www.commodityonline.com/news/branded-spices-gaining-flavour-in-indian-households-56940-3-56941.html

Organic food market in India set for incessant growth

Increasing retail and online presence of organic food stores, growing demand from international market and rising health consciousness are anticipated to spur the demand for organic foods in India

According to a recently published report by TechSci Research ‘India Organic Food Market Forecast & Opportunities, 2017’, the organic food market in India is expected to grow at the CAGR of around 19% during 2012-17. The growth in the market is also being contributed by the foray of several retail giants and online retailers in the Indian organic food market. Over the last few years, several players have started to offer organic food products through online channel. Some of the major online organic food retailers include: Farm2Kitchen, Big Basket, Best Organic etc.

Organic foods are produced through systematic farming methods that do not involve any usage of pesticides and harmful chemicals for production. India has around 4.2 Million hectares of land which is certified for organic farming. The emergence of organic farming is also creating a wide array of job opportunities. Increasing awareness towards nutritious and healthy food and changing lifestyle are surging the demand for organic food, particularly across the metro cities. Majority of the demand for organic food is being contributed by cities such as Mumbai, Chennai, Delhi, Gurgaon, Bengaluru and Pune.

The market is restrained by some factors such as a price conscious consumer base, extensive land available for farming which is not certified for organic farming etc. The certification for land to be considered fit for organic farming requires extensive documentation and is also an expensive and time consuming process.

The demand for organic food products is increasing in U.S., Europe and Japan. The health concerns in these countries are rising extensively; however, as a result of high cost of labor and less fertility of land, these countries rely on developing countries like India to meet their requirements for organic foods.

“The availability of different types of organic products, less dependency on chemical fertilizers, increasing government initiatives for promoting organic farming and increasing investments by corporate giants are likely to push the market for organic foods in India,” said Mr. Karan Chechi, Research Director with TechSci Research a research based global management consulting firm.”

Retrieved from – http://www.teatronaturale.com/article/4451.html

Build brand NE, say experts

Build brand Northeast with the inherent strengths of the region is what speakers highlighted at a Northeast marketing conclave here today.

The focus of the Ficci-organised conclave, Remark, was to help the region attract investors and ensure that local goods and services are able to compete in the domestic and international markets.

The chief operating officer (COO) of Amalgamated Plantations Private Ltd, Prabir Banerjea, said the Northeast should create a regional identity with some common factors to build brand Northeast. The identity can be based on four attributes found in the region — natural, fresh, traditional and wild & unexplored.

He said multinationals were attracting consumers with local flavours and it was imperative that the region built on its inherent strengths.

“The region has the potential to become largest producer of organic and naturally-grown horticulture and spice products,” he said.

In spices, it can become a supplier of high value spices to processors, whereas in fruits, it can supply fruits like passion fruit, pineapple, strawberry and kiwi to various markets. In flowers, it can target the metro market and create a retail chain.

He said consumers/customers were increasingly looking at hygiene and convenience and private label brands were becoming the order of the day in modern trade.

Assam health and education minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, who was the chief guest at the conclave, said marketing should be based on honesty. “There should be a honest admission of facts,” he said.

Referring to Kaziranga, which is a big craze for tourists, he said the authorities should tell the tourists what they could expect and not go over board.

“If you consider human development index, Assam comes in 16th position but what it does not say is that it comes third when one considers last three years and not the entire period after Independence. Even when considering the drop in maternal mortality rate, Assam will have beaten Gujarat when we look at the last three years. Comparisons should be done amongst equals and it should be taken into account that some of them are not historically in an advantageous position,” Sarma said, adding that social campaigns should be backed by ground reality.

Other speakers stressed that the Northeast needed to make right choices in chalking out an effective strategy to market itself.

Though it has many unique goods and products, there seems to be a lacuna in marketing them in national and international markets, the speakers said.

Bejon Misra, a consumer policy expert, said during a panel discussion on opportunities and issues of direct selling that promises made to a consumer must be delivered in the manner he or she wanted.

“The key expectations of the consumers are accountability, transparency, standard, information, non-discrimination, a good redressal mechanism and service with a smile,” he added.

Retrieved from – http://www.telegraphindia.com/1130830/jsp/northeast/story_17288254.jsp#.UiAlgNIqdsk

Tea major forays into spice trade

Amalgamated Plantations Private Limited is planning to introduce a brand of spices sourced from the Northeast, including pepper from its plantations, in the national market.
Pepper being grown in a nursery inside an APPL garden.

Guwahati, July 14: Amalgamated Plantations Private Limited, the second largest tea producer in the country, is all set to launch its brand of spices.

The tea major, which has been growing other crops on its estates, is aiming big vis-à-vis spices and wants to become a national player within five years.

“The idea is to have fair price aggregation and develop market linkages with the organised sector. APPL’s vision is to become the preferred provider of agri business supply solutions in the Northeast to ultimately benefit the farmer,” Prabir Banerjea, the chief operating officer of APPL’s agri business division, told The Telegraph.

The company is growing only black pepper — the most traded spice in the world — in its gardens. Black pepper, known as the king of spices, is known for its hot, biting flavour and pungent aroma. The latest price for black pepper in India ranges from Rs 35,000 to Rs 50,000 per quintal. The company sources other spices from different states of the region.

“The brand names are being shortlisted and our brands could hit the market by August,” Banerjea said.

The company started growing black pepper commercially from 2007 and the yield this year was 24 metric tonnes — 20 per cent higher than last year. As on date, the company has 200 hectares under black pepper cultivation.

He said the company planned to announce the origin of the produce and their USPs across marketing channels in the organised sector, as “at present, spices from the Northeast are being sold in mandis and nobody knows where these are coming from”.

Independent nurseries have been set up in all gardens to ensure self-sufficiency in planting material and high-yielding and drought-resistant varieties have been sourced from south India.

Banerjea said single polished turmeric fingers with specified curcumin content were recently sent to Olam International — a leading global integrated supply chain manager and processor of agricultural products and food ingredients — for export. “This is for the first time spices have been exported from the Northeast,” he said. The turmeric was mainly sourced from Assam’s Karbi Anglong district.

The company is also setting up a state of the art processing and packaging plant for spices and fruits aggregated from the Northeast at the North East Mega Food Park in Tihu. Construction will commence after the monsoon this year and trial production will start from the winter of 2014.

The official said the company’s entry into the spices sector in the Northeast would create national links for local produce, benefiting the farming community of the region.

Spices are high value export-oriented commodities, which play an important role in the country’s agricultural economy, as India is the principal source of spices in the global market. In the Northeast, black pepper is mainly grown in Meghalaya, which produces about 400 metric tonnes of the spice annually.

According to Spices Board, the Northeast has tremendous potential for largescale production of spices and it is anticipated that the region can create exportable surpluses at competitive prices, ensuring that the country stays on top in the international spices market.

In fact, the spices sector has been making strides in the Northeast and Spices Board has proposed an outlay of Rs 66.75 crore in the Twelfth Plan to promote the sector in the region. The Twelfth Plan focus is on development of large cardamom and other spices with respect to area expansion, irrigation and land development, mechanization, organic farming and post-harvest processing.

Retrieved from – http://www.telegraphindia.com/1130715/jsp/northeast/story_17115030.jsp#.UeN3b9Iqdsl

India expansion on for global cash & carry chains

General sentiment that slowdown and dip in investor sentiment won’t affect rationale for expansion.

International cash and carry chains in the retail sector want to expand through the year in India, despite the economic slowdown and dip in foreign investor confidence.

Having no foreign direct investment (FDI) restriction, these wholesale chains are allowed to sell products only to retailers, professional users, caterers, institutional buyers and other businesses, which need special licences to buy from these outlets.

Walmart, the $446-billion American retail giant, which operates cash and carry outlets in India in a 50-50 joint venture with the Bharti group, expects to open 12 to 15 wholesale outlets in 2012, against 10 in 2011. At an average cost of $6-7 million (Rs 33-38 crore) per store, excluding land and construction cost, 15 outlets would mean an investment of anything between Rs 500 crore and Rs 600 crore. With land and construction cost, total investment could double.

CASH & CARRY INDIA MAP
Company Outlets opened
till May 2012
Total
 outlets 
Booker  2 4
Bharti-Walmart 2 17
Metro 2 11
Carrefour 0 2
Source: Companies

 

Even as Walmart has been waiting for the government to allow FDI in multi-brand retail, it is bullish on the India market for cash and carry outlets. It has opened two more in India this year and has a total of 17 till now.

Metro, the top German cash and carry group, which has an estimated annual revenue of euro 67 billion, is also planning to stay on the expansion path this year in India. While noting the challenging general economic conditions, a company spokesperson said, “Allocation of capex funds is to be prioritised more strongly.”

He said the Metro group had decided, therefore, “to first concentrate on like-for-like (existing stores) sales growth and to accelerate the expansion in selected countries, where we are already well established with our business model”. India is among the select countries where the German chain wants to continue to expand. As against three store launches in 2011, Metro has opened two (New Delhi and Jaipur) in the first five months of 2012. At around Rs 60-70 crore investment on each wholesale centre, a Metro spokesperson said many more outlets would be opened across the country over the next few years, but did not elaborate on the specifics.

French retail major Carrefour (annual sales worth euro 112 billion), which had launched one cash and carry outlet each in 2010 and 2011, may go for another store opening later this year, sector sources said. The company did not talk about its India plans. Carrefour, like Walmart, wants to set up operations in multi-brand retail in India and is waiting for the government to give a green signal. Its India head, Jean Noel Bironneau, had met commerce and industry minister Anand Sharma a few days before, perhaps to discuss issues related to multi-brand FDI.

UK-based Booker, a $6.5-billion cash and carry chain, has in the first five months of 2012 already surpassed last year’s store launch. This calendar year, it has opened two wholesale centres, with more planned, against just one in 2011. Zunaid Bangee, chief executive officer, Booker India, said the general global and European economic climate had not impacted the store opening plans. When asked if the company’s investment decisions would be influenced by the dip in global investor confidence in India at this point, Bangee replied, “No, this will not have an impact on our expansion plans.” The company plans to open up to 20 stores in India over the next five years. Its first outlet opened in Mumbai in 2009 and it has a total of four wholesale centres in the country.

Walmart, which had opened its first wholesale store in India in 2009, along with Bharti, dismisses the view that the global economic climate could influence its store expansion plans. “Saving people money so they can live better is at the heart of everything we do,” the spokesperson said, adding, “this is especially relevant in an economic slowdown”.

On global investors’ mood, a Bharti-Walmart spokesperson said, “The India story remains strong with the international business community.” Adding, “There is understanding and appreciation of the factors that impact policy making, particularly in India’s vibrant democracy.” Walmart is here in India for the long term, the executive added.

The Metro executive expressed similar sentiments. “We are confident in the big potential of the India market. We are on a growth path and well positioned to expand our presence in other parts of the country,” he said. The oldest international cash and carry chain in India, it opened its first outlet in the country some eight years before. Having picked up speed recently, it has a total of 11 wholesale outlets in India till now. Apart from India, Metro has launched two outlets, in both China and Kazakhstan, and one each in Poland, Russia and Vietnam this calendar year till April. “We will continue to grow in our existing markets, with a focus on Eastern Europe and Asia,” the executive said.

Cash-and-carry represents an opportunity worth around $150 billion (Rs 8.25 lakh crore) of the $500-billion (Rs 27.5 lakh crore) annual retail business in India.

Retrieved from – http://www.business-standard.com/india/news/india-expansionfor-global-cashcarry-chains/475544/