Key players in retail sector
Pantaloon Retail (India)
Pantaloon’s managing director Kishore Biyani believes in changing the rules. When Pantaloon started the Big Bazaar discount stores in 2002, malls were not part of the shopping culture. Big Bazaar became a hit, as it combined the look and feel of Indian bazaars with aspects of modern retail like choice, convenience and quality. Headquartered in Mumbai, the Rs 3,500-crore company now operates over 5 million sq ft across 40 cities.
A menswear store owned by K Raheja in the Mumbai suburb of Andheri in 1991 has now transformed into Shopper’s Stop, with 27 departmental stores. The company entered airport retailing in a joint venture with the Nuance Group. It also launched India’s largest hypermarket, Hypercity. In 2005, it bought the Crossword bookstore chain.
Growing from one store in Bahrain in 1973, the NRI-led Landmark Group today operates over 5 million sq ft in the Middle East and India. The group’s first Lifestyle store in India opened in Chennai in 1999. Now it has 325,000 sq ft in Chennai, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Gurgaon and Mumbai. Its first hypermarket, branded as ‘Max’, is expected to open soon.
Mukesh Ambani’s 15,000-people Reliance Retail has opened 250 convenience stores, branded as ‘Fresh’, across the southern states. It is now planning to launch 30 such outlets in Mumbai. Reliance Retail plans to invest Rs 25,000 crore on hypermarkets, supermarkets and specialty stores in the next four years. The first hypermarket will be up in Ahmedabad by the end of July.
Aditya Birla Retail
The company, which will operate under the brand ‘More’, has selected two formats — hypermarkets and supermarkets — for its initial foray. The first store has opened in Pune. Last January, the company acquired Trinethra Super Retail, which has given it more than 5,00,000 sq ft and a strong presence in the South. The Birlas’ outlay for the business over the next three years is Rs 9,000 crore.
The world’s largest retailer Wal-Mart, which prefers to go it alone outside the US, chose Sunil Mittal’s Bharti Enterprises as its partner in India. The venture will start with the cash & carry (wholesale) format, which could be extended to retail operations once foreign direct investment is allowed in multi-brand retail, as is expected. The entity is yet to start operations as the formal agreement has not been inked.
— M Sabarinath