New Delhi: Bharti Retail on Wednesday exuded confidence that it is on course to become a billion dollar company by 2015, and will open 40 more stores in the next three months notwithstanding the economic slowdown.
“We have now 28 Easyday (small stores), including two medium stores, running in the North and we shall be adding another 40 or so to make them 70 by December 2009,” Rajan Mittal, vice-chairman and managing director, Bharti Enterprises said.
The company will also open its second cash-and-carry store under the 50:50 JV with US-based Wal-Mart, the world’s largest retail chain, by December this year.
“We are going as per our plan. Our plan is very clear. We want to be a Rs1,000 crore company in the next three years by 2010-2011,” Mittal said.
On whether the retail business of Bharti Enterprises—which owns India’s largest telecom company under Airtel brand—be another billion dollar (about Rs4,800 crore) company by 2015, Mittal said: “So if it is Rs1,000 crore in three years. Surely it should be earlier than that.”
He, however, said that it would require stabilisation in the real estate and the retail market. “My personal ambition is that it should be more quicker than telecom This is not about my company. It is about ecosystem.”
Mittal said that only about 5% of the industry constitutes organised retail, which is projected to grow to 25-30%, opening growth opportunities for all.
Bharti plans to invest up to $2.5 billion by 2015 in retail business, covering 10 million square feet. Mittal said that the slowdown has had only a marginal impact, mainly on account of yo-yo in real estate, but there was no change in the company’s eight-year plan.
Talking about the 40 new stores that are coming up in the NCR, he said: “We now have 28-29 Easydays and two stores which are medium stores, by the end of the year, we plan to have about 70 stores.”
Mittal said that majority of the new stores will be in the small format—about 3,000 square feet each. Of these, five stores will be in the medium format (up to 50,000 sq ft), called ‘Easyday Market´, and most of the new ones will be in and around Delhi.
About the back-end, wholesale business, he said: “We had targeted to open two cash and carry. One we have already opened and one we hope to open in December.”
“The existing store is in Amritsar and the other one will also come up in Punjab,” he said.
Asked whether Bharti has been moving slow in the retail business, compared to other players, Mittal said: “First three years are very clear, it is our learning. We want to do it the correct way. Just opening stores makes no meaning. There is lot of other stuff that needs to be handled. We are actually on course.”