Even as foreign retail players are waiting in the wings to set up shops in India, domestic real estate players are trying to reach out to them. Many developers claim they are in talks with foreign retail chains to build customised stores according to the front-end, back-end and commercial requirement of the foreign retail majors.
For instance, Noida-based developer Supertech is in touch with Swedish furniture maker IKEA and is showing them space in the NCR, next to Delhi. Recently, the Foreign Investment Promotion Board approved the euro 1.5-billion foreign direct investment proposal of IKEA.
"We are showing IKEA space in our project 'Upcountry' in Greater Noida and 'Sports City' in Meerut, said R K Arora, chairman and managing director of Supertech.
He said that the Swedish chain wants a large-format standalone store and is not considering space in malls.
"We are assessing their requirement right now. Our team is currently in talks with a foreign multi-brand chain as well," he added.
Another real estate company, Raheja Developers, is in talks with multi-brand players such as Woolworths from Australia and the UK's Sainsbury's and Tesco.
"Our retail team is in touch with three multi-brand foreign retailers and these chains want large space with a lot of height," said Navin Raheja, chairman and managing director of Raheja Developers.
Raheja said the company would make customised stores for foreign brands. "We have over five licences for commercial, which will help us take care of the commercial space demand that comes up."
Yet another developer, AMR Infrastructures Ltd, said that the group was in dialogue with foreign retail players, but declined to name any.
"They are interested in picking up large chunks of commercial space from us," said Kapil Agarwal, managing director, AMR Infrastructures.
Mumbai-based Mantri Realty said it was getting demand more for back-end than front-end at the moment. "As retail policy gains more clarity and as foreign retailers feel more comfortable on India, then certainly we will see more demand for front end stores," said Sunil Mantri, chairman of Mantri Realty.
However, leading real estate players such as DLF and Unitech denied being in talks with any foreign brands, saying that the multi-brand policy still needs further clarity.
"There is still not much clarity on multi-brand retail for players to start coming in. Even if they plan to come in, they would be in talks with domestic retailers for tie ups than developers," said Rajeev Talwar, executive director of DLF.
According to R Nagaraju, vice-president (corporate planning) of Unitech, since they are not into retail business, foreign chains are not in touch with them.
"Foreign chains must be engaging with retailers at this point. Talks with developers come later, so we will see as and when demand comes up," he said.