European home-improvement retail firm Kingfisher, which runs the B&Q, Castorama, Brico Depot, and Screwfix Direct chains, may enter the Indian market with an investment of Rs1,000 crore, which will be spent over two years.
A senior team from the company is in India currently, scouting for partners, and has already met several property developers and retailers, according to a source familiar with the negotiations, who spoke to Mint on the condition of anonymity.
Officials at the company’s headquarters in London refused to comment.
Kingfisher, not related to the airline or the beer of the same name, which ended 2006 with a revenue of £8 billion (about Rs68,820 crore), is in the same business as US company Home Depot, and targets consumers who believe in the DIY (do it yourself) approach to home improvement. The company operates as many as 700 stores across 11 countries.
“Kingfisher hopes to grow faster by riding on the economic boom in China and India, where the demand for homes is rising fast,” said I.S.Narula, the chief executive of Ishanya, a speciality mall focusing on home improvement products. Other companies have had the same idea. Pantaloon Retail’s home improvement chain, Home Solutions, hopes to do business worth Rs1,500 crore in the next two years, and Shopper’s Stop and Reliance Retail have plans for the segment as well.
The Retailers Association of India, an industry federation, expects the market for organized retail in home improvement to grow from Rs1,500 crore now to Rs3,000 crore by 2008. “The category is still developing in India, but it is growing at 50%,” said Gibson Vedamani, the chief executive of the association.