Bharti Enterprises group company Bharti Retail,which is on track to invest USD 2 billion by 2018,today said it may scale up its investment if the government relaxes FDI norms in the retail sector.
“If the rules for the game are changed…we can also revisit our plans,” Bharti Enterprises Vice-Chairman and Managing Director Rajan Mittal said when asked if the company would scale up its investments if the FDI norms are further relaxed.
Venting out his frustrations over restrictions on foreign investment in the retail sector,Mittal said a political decision needed to be taken at the earliest,else the country will lose out on getting billions of dollars of foreign funds into the sector.
“If retail is good,please allow FDI in multi-brand retail. If it is bad,let’s stop talking about it,” he said.
Questioning the rationale of not allowing foreign investment in multi-brand retail under the pretext that organised retail would wipe out small kirana and neighbourhood mom-and-pop stores,he said already big domestic retailers are in market and no such impact has been seen.
“The government has allowed domestic big companies like Bharti,Reliance,Birlas,Spencer group and Kishore Biyani’s Future group,these could have also hurt the kirana strores,but that hasn’t happened,” he added.
Currently,the government allows 51 per cent FDI in single brand retail but none in multi-brand,while 100 per cent in wholesale business.
Mittal said government should immediately consider allowing at least 49 per cent FDI in multi-brand retail if not more,as this sector doesn’t pose “any security threat” unlike in telecom and defence.
He,however,said that Bharti Retail,as announced earlier,is on track to invest USD 2 billion by 2018 and would open 150 stores by the end of 2010.
Bharti Retail,currently,operates around 70 outlets of its ‘easyday’ stores across the country,including six large format ‘easyday Market’ hyperstores.
In 2007,the company had stated that it envisaged having a pan-India operations with approximately 10 million square feet of retail space cities across with a population of over one million.
It had estimated employing about 60,000 people,including ex-servicemen and women.
Bharti Enterprises has also a joint venture with Walmart,the world largest retailer for cash and carry business and runs the ‘Best Price’ stores.