Fu-Com International, a Dubai-based company that operates supermarkets across West Asia in association with Groupe Casino, the French retail chain, is set to enter the Indian market with hypermarkets.
Sources close to the development claim that it is playing an advisory role in Fu-Com Retail Pvt. Ltd, the Indian company. Fu-Com Retail’s managing director Vinod Bajaj confirmed that the company would soon open the first of a chain of stores, but denied any connection with Fu-Com International.
Speaking to Mint over the phone, the Mumbai-based Bajaj, former head of the foods business at Pantaloon Retail, claimed that the company was promoted by a group of individuals with experience in the retail sector. He refused to share any details about investment or the structure. A senior executive of Fu-Com International, Mohammed Ashfaq, is on the board of Fu-Com Retail.
Indian laws do not allow any foreign direct investment in multi-brand retail and Congress president Sonia Gandhi has just asked the Prime Minister’s Office to ensure that foreign investments in the sector do not come at the cost of local entrepreneurs, many of whom run small retail businesses.
Fu-Com’s stores in India willd be called Le Marche, the same as Fu-Com International’s stores in West Asia, the sources said. The first outlet, they added, would open in a 70,000 sq. ft space in suburban Mumbai and offer everything from food to consumer electronics. The company plans to follow this up with stores in Thane and Pune.
The sources also said Imran Ahmed, Fu-Com International’s head of human resources, is currently in Mumbai, helping with recruitment for the first store.