| Retail rocks
Mumbai, Sept. 15: A nation of shopkeepers, that's how Napoleon described England some aeons ago.
The title would sit pretty on India today as the organised sector moves in to grab its share of the great Indian Bazaar.
Pantaloon Retail is setting up more than 45 Big Bazaar outlets in India. Rival Pyramyd Retail has lined up an initial public offering that will help it raise enough resources to set up two True Marts every month for the next few years. It filed its offer prospectus with Sebi today.
Pyramyd will join a growing list of retail chains listed on the local bourses. These include Pantaloon, Trent, Shoppers' Stop and Provogue.
Reliance, another giant eyeing the retail space, today spoke about its petroleum retailing chain. Executive director Hital Meswani said the company will set up petroleum retailing outfits along the golden quadrilateral. RIL will set up retailing outposts within 200 km of each bunker.
'The heat is on. The entire set up will be in place by the middle of 2006,' he said.
The leading lights from the nascent retailing sector in the country were speaking at the maiden chapter of India Retail Forum 2005. The first day of the two day conclave was attended by Meswani, S. Siva Kumar, chief executive of ITC International Business, Arun Nanda, executive director and president of M&M, and Ness Wadia, deputy managing director, Bombay Dyeing.
Noel Tata, managing director of Trent, said: 'India is the only country in the world where women continue to wear traditional styles of clothes. This truly represents the story of Indian retail.'
Krish Iyer, chairman of India Retail Forum, said, 'The organised retail industry is a mere 3 per cent, which only highlights the huge opportunity. It is poised to grow to Rs 1,10,000 crore by 2010.'
A.K. Dua, secretary (industrial policy & promotion), ministry of commerce and industries, said FDI will not only expand the market but also bring in competition.
M&M's Arun Nanda said: 'Retail cannot grow by developing malls only. It needs to cater to the needs of locals too. Unlike Singaporeans, we Indians are not shop savvy. We have to promote India as a shopping destination for international shoppers and to do that we need to give our retail an Indian face.'