Even as the Opposition and Trinamool Congress slammed the UPA governments decision to allow 51 per cent FDI in multi-brand retail saying the small shopowners will be worst hit by it,businessmen in Kolkata small and big have a completely different take on it. While small-time retailers say the foreign investors would not be able to affect their businesses,the big market players welcome the governments decision. Arshad Ali reports.
The big retailers
Its a myth that farmers would lose out if FDI in retail is allowed. Spencers has been dealing with FDI in other states of the country and there had not been any slump in business. This is a positive and welcome step for the retail industry and the reforms process. This is a strong message from the government to carry forward the agenda of reforms. I wholeheartedly welcome this.
Sanjiv Goenka,chairman RP-SG Group that owns Spencers.
Customers would be largely benefit from the entry of foreign players in retail. Everyone will have enough business and out of everything,customers would be spoilt of choices. They will have quality products at a very low price because middlemen would be eliminated.
Big Bazaar of Future Group
We would stick to our pattern of wholesale business. In India,Metro Cash & Carry focuses on the wholesale business,and the current regulations already permit 100 per cent FDI in the wholesale sector. Therefore,Metro Cash & Carry sees no impact on its business-to-business wholesale operations in India. However,we welcome liberalised and free markets as these are pre-conditions for economic growth.
Metro Cash and Carry
The Small retailers
Such talks of doomsday for small retailers had also happened when Big Bazaar had stepped in. But our customers kept returning to us. Our business,in fact,grew more and we got better response from people.
Amal Karmakar,a grocery shop owner at Manicktala market.
The bigger brands will never be able to sell stuff cheaper than us. They have huge airconditioned shops that require high maintenance. How do you think they will sell stuffs cheaper? We did not worry before and even now we do not anticipate trouble.
Kamal,owns a shop at Park Circus Market
A personal relationship is built when a person goes shopping in his pyjamas to a local market. In many cases,the shopkeeper knows how many members are there in the family and they develop a personal equations with their customers. In big retail outlets,it is more mechanical. The human touch is missing there and so we will never lose our customers.
Shekhar,a grocer at Gariahat Market