In the Financial Times World Retailing this month, "Traditional vendors still dominate" discusses how India remains the "world's most attractive developing country for retail investments." The article states that "large foreign players such as Wal-Mart, Tesco and Carrefour, have been kept on the margins by New Delhi’s ban on foreign direct investment in so-called “multi-brand retail.”" but believes that it will and has to change in the near future - "“I think all the domestic players have burnt up a lot more cash than they thought they would,” says Mr Mukherjee [an AT Kearney principal in New Delhi]."
Today, Trent (Tata group's retail arm) operates Westside department store. In groceries, Tata gets technical support from Tesco for their HFS Star Bazaar. Similarly, Bharti Enterprises has Easy Day with technical support Wal-Mart.
India, a nation whose primary language is English, has a shopper whose behavioral patterns are more desirous of Western culture does seem like the ideal candidate for retail investment. Question is if it will end up inventing solutions designed specifically for its shopper and consumer and create a new market place for shopping? For example, the HFS format is an Asian invention adopted and improved upon by the rest of the world. A version of "dhaba-walas" has always existed throughout the developing coutnries.
If you would like to read this and other articles in the World Retailing, download the complete file here.