Auchan plans to unveil 60 outlets in India, seeks clarity on investment policy

4 April 2013 (Last Updated April 4th, 2013 18:30)

French hypermarket chain Auchan is seeking entry into Indian multi-brand retail market with plans to launch 60 outlets across the country.

French hypermarket chain Auchan is seeking entry into Indian multi-brand retail market with plans to launch 60 outlets across the country.

The retailer held discussions with Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma putting forward its expansion plans through foreign direct investment (FDI) policy.

Earlier in 2012, Indian government has formulated and approved foreign direct investment (FDI) policy allowing 51% investment from the overseas player in the multi-brand sector.

The policy also mandates the foreign retailers to invest a minimum of $100m, of which 50% should be in back-end infrastructure such as supply chains.

Confirming the speculations, Sharma stated that the officials of the chain had met the concerned authorities.

"They want to open 60 stores in India," Sharma said.

Commenting on expansion plans, Auchan global chairman Vlanney Mulliez remarked that the retailer is very enthusiastic about the Indian market and the new FDI regulations are new to them.

"So we are considering explaining our ambitions and seeking some advice in order to address in the best way this huge potential market," added Mulliez.

However, the company has not disclosed if the company is seeking the expansion through franchise model or company-owned.

Auchan currently operates 13 hypermarkets in the country through a franchise model with Max Hypermarkets India.

Responding to growing concerns over lack of multi-brand retail investments from foreign companies, Sharma said, "We have got a letter from Carrefour."

Sharma added that the government’s duties are limited to making policies and it is global retailer’s decision to opt the local partners.

Meanwhile, in single-brand retailing, the largest investor Ikea is awaiting the final approval from the board for an investment of $1.9bn to launch 25 outlets in the country.