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Pantaloon in office retail push, courts Staples Inc

Staples Inc, the world?s largest office supplies? retailer, is set to enter the Indian organised retail sector, reports Sabarinath M.

india Updated: Dec 03, 2006 22:15 IST

Staples Inc, the world’s largest office supplies’ retailer, is set to enter the Indian organised retail sector close on the heels of retail giant Wal-Mart announcing plans to set up an Indian venture with the Bharti group.

The $16 billion US company that runs 1,600 stores in the US and Canada, is close to striking an alliance with Kishore Biyani's Future Group, currently the country's largest retail player, thanks to established brands such as Pantaloons and Big Bazaar.

Pantaloon Retail India Ltd, the listed entity that leads Biyani's ambitious chain that spans everything from bookseller Depot to extensions of Big Bazaar such as Furniture Bazaar and Food Bazaar, is set to be the vehicle for the collaboration.

“Staples and Pantaloon are expected to sign the agreement shortly. Pantaloon is forming a new company to manage the office supplies’ business," said a source close to the transaction. Pantaloon Retail's board, at its meeting held on November 17, approved the formation of a new subsidiary company to carry out the office supplies’ business. Pantaloon offered no comment on the issue.

Staples, which is expanding in markets outside the US, is betting big on Asia and has underlined that the region's emerging markets will be key business drivers. India being the hottest growth market after China in the continent, would likely be on its radar.

Staples has a joint venture with OA 365 in China. Similarly, it operates in Taiwan through a JV with UB Express.

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First Published: Dec 03, 2006 22:15 IST