New Delhi: On a day when UK-based catalogue retailer Argos confirmed that it has tied up with India’s largest chain of department stores, Shoppers’ Stop Ltd, to develop the Argos retail franchise stores, new questions are being raised on the impact of organized retail on mom-and-pop retailers.
A letter from the Prime Minister’s Office to the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion is believed to have sought a study of the possible impact of large-scale retail operations, both by transnational supermarkets and major Indian business houses, on small retailers. News of the letter surfaced on the same day that Wal-Mart Stores Inc. vice-chairman Mike Duke was meeting industry minister Kamal Nath.
Asked whether a new review of foreign direct investment policy in retail was needed, Nath said: “There is no question of a relook since there is no proposal to allow FDI in multibrand retail.” After his meeting with Duke and Wal-Mart’s Indian partner Sunil Mittal, chief of Bharti group, Nath said Wal-Mart was proposing to come to India through “cash and carry” and back-end operations which were allowed under the prevailing policy.
Argos sells inexpensive products ranging from personal care to jewellery, from furniture to photography items over the telephone, the Net and through stores. Shopper’s Stop is owned by K. Raheja Corp.
Rasul Bailay contributed to this story