Over a year after he took charge of the world's second largest multi-brand retail firm, Carrefour, chairman and CEO Georges Plassat is coming to India to take stock of the company's performance after it entered the country four years ago. He would also visit company’s cash-and-carry stores.
During his one and a half day visit to Delhi on Friday, Plassat would review business operations and visit the company's oldest store on Seelampur Metro station premise.
“He is on a short visit to Delhi to review the in-house operations and visit a few stores. It is a flying visit for a day and a half,” said a source familiar with Plassat's plans.
Carrefour entered India in December 2010 when it opened its first wholesale cash-and-carry store on Seelampur Metro station premise in east Delhi.
Carrefour has five stores in the country now. In fact, it has been cautious in India expansion, mostly launching one cash-and-carry store a year. It has other stores in Agra, Meerut and Jaipur.
“Initially, they had planned 14 cash-and-carry stores but only five have been set up so far. They have been slow in their expansion plans. Earlier, they were waiting for a policy and once that happened, they wanted more amendments. Now, they are in a wait-and-watch mode due to elections,” said a person familiar with Carrefour's plans.
Though the firm is said to be in talks with Indian retailers to setup multi-brand retail stores, officials said no meeting has been fixed with commerce and industry minister Anand Sharma till now.
UK's Tesco became the first company to make an application for multi-brand retailing after the government allowed 51% FDI in the multi-brand retail last year. Tesco is world's third largest retailer and it became the first company to announce an investment of $110 million in the multi-brand retail sector, ending an embarrassingly long wait for the policy change done by the UPA government.
“They need to finalise an Indian partner before meeting government officials,” the source added. A detailed email sent to Carrefour's India spokesperson did not elicit response. Ministry officials confirmed there is no meeting with Plassat.
“We have not received any investment application from them and it is premature to comment on the kind of proposal they are planning,” said a senior DIPP official.