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'There is room for plenty of new players'

March 23, 2009 10:22 IST

Kishore Biyani, founder of the Future Group which owns Food Bazaar, Big Bazaar and other format retail chains, is tying up with rivals to promote his private labels and hiving off businesses into separate units to generate cash.

He was flooded with questions on his retail strategy at a forum held in Mumbai on March 22.

Excerpts:

You seem to have taken on FMCG companies with new products and business strategies.

We have decided not to take a confrontationist stand with FMCG companies unless we have been provoked. But if they give (us) the same margins which they give to paanwalas, then it is disrespect to modern retailers.

There are reports about you planning to spin-off your value formats? What are your plans?

We have created 26 units to raise resources and seek partnerships in those ventures. We are looking at all the units and getting money out of that.

What is your strategy in private labels?

We are focusing on launching a private label soon in toothpaste. We have launched a cola brand and got good response. Our store brand in potato chips comprises 20 per cent of our total chip sales. Many more products are in offing and they will help us in reaching where we plan to reach.

There were talks about your tie-up with European retailer, Carrefour. Is it correct?

There are possibilities in everything in life.

How do you look at the downturn in food and grocery retailing?

Food is the last thing to face any downturn. But we have hardly had value-added products in this segment in the past 7-8 years which have brought in more revenues for retailers. Organised retail's job is to fuel consumption of value-added products. But the downturn has helped in rationalising prices. Whatever excess got created in the country got corrected. Be it be prices of real estate or commodities, everything got corrected.

How do you look at the challenge from multi-national retailers, with talk of liberalising the Indian retail sector?

The idea of modern retail is to drive consumption and grow the economy. If international retailers can do that and add new categories, why not? I think we can have plenty of new players who can grow the economy.
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