New Delhi: Last year, Bharti Enterprises Ltd launched its much talked about retail venture with a few stores in Punjab. Barely over a year into the business, the firm has already shut two stores, one each in Amritsar and Karnal, out of its two dozen outlets.

Lost paradise: A file photo of a Spencer’s Retail outlet in Kolkata. Organised retailers in India have shut hundreds of outlets in the past few months. Indranil Bhoumik / Mint

Although Bharti Retail’s store closure is minuscule in number, it illustrates a general trend that is sweeping the industry. Over the months, several of India’s so-called organized retailers have closed outlets nationwide amid an economic slump that has hit retailers hard.

Together, India’s modern retailers have closed more stores than they have opened over the past year.

Firms such as Pantaloon Retail (India) Ltd, Reliance Retail Ltd, Spencer’s Retail Ltd, Aditya Birla Retail Ltd, and Subhiksha Trading Services Ltd have closed hundreds of outlets.

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Mint research shows that the sector has seen the closure of at least 2,000 stores in the last 12 to 18 months. Subhiksha accounted for a major portion of this number—it closed all of its 1,600 stores.

Arvind Singhal, chairman of retail consultancy firm Technopak Advisors Pvt. Ltd said, many of the shuttered outlets were actually moved to locations with cheaper rentals.

rasul.b@livemint.com

Graphics by Sandeep Bhatnagar / Mint

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