The very first post on this Blog was back in July, and discussed reports that Aussie supermarket giant Woolworths was contemplating an entry into the Indian grocery arena. It seems talks continue. Reports out of India earlier this week claimed that Woolies were:
“in talks with Kishore Biyani’s Future Group, which owns Pantaloons Retail, for an equal equity joint venture for food and grocery cash and carry business in India.”
Pantaloon is one of India’s largest retailers and spread across a similar range of retail lines as Woolworths (supermarket, variety, electrical). The firms also has a joint venture with US office supplies retail giant Staples. It will be intriguing to see if and how any partnership with Woolworths will play out.
As I said in the earlier post, India is certainly the next frontier for retailing with a huge population currently under serviced and almost unprecedented scope for consolidation and modernisation. The question is whether Woolworths have transferable advantages and capabilities for this environment, especially if they eventually go head-to-head against the recently finalised Bharti-Wal-Mart combo.
Interestingly, Woolworths already has a relationship with another Indian retail goliath, Tata, in the electronics retailing market. I wonder how they will partition these two arrangements.