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‘Adapting is a must for foreign retailers’

The foreign retail companies entering India should learn to adapt themselves to the ‘Indianness’ to be successful, says Kishore Biyani, CEO of Future Group. BS Srinivasalu Reddy reports.

business Updated: Dec 04, 2007 23:40 IST
BS Srinivasalu Reddy

The foreign retail companies entering India should learn to adapt themselves to the ‘Indianness’ to be successful, and scouting the same wares they sell in their countries may not be received well, said Kishore Biyani, CEO of Future Group.

Speaking at the Asian Private Equity and Venture Forum on Tuesday, Biyani said, “Changing the DNA of Indian consumer is very difficult. Unlike the US, which is over four-centuries old, Indian culture has evolved over 3,000 years of civilisation. Addressing the diversity of cultures and languages will be the biggest challenge.”

Citing different examples of how different companies that have entered tried to handle the issue, Biyani added, “Vegetable menu is not part of the menu (of Domino’s Pizza) anywhere in the world, but they offer it here. Reebok has added ‘salwar kurta’ to its wares in India as part of Indianising itself.”

Whatever be the influence of Western culture, the youth here retain their Indianness in whatever they do. Whoever wants to come here have to adapt to this situation, the Future Group chief adviced.

Responding to a query on the government policy on foreign direct investment (FDI), Biyani, who runs 76 hypermarkets across the country, said that it has to come in sometime or the other. However, it should be allowed to enter at a lower level like at departmental store and selling niche wares, and hypermarkets and food and vegetable stores must be allowed only after a lag. He denied that there was any resistance to hypermarkets. “It is only confined to convenience stores, selling particularly fruits and vegetables,” he added.