‘Bharti to Re­tain Re­tail JV Con­trol’

Ra­jan Mit­tal says co wants a for­eign part­ner not for cap­i­tal but for do­main ex­per­tise & best prac­tices

The Economic Times - - Business Of Brands - RA­SUL BAILAY

Brush­ing aside spec­u­la­tions that Bharti group plans to sell off its re­tail busi­ness, Ra­jan Bharti Mit­tal, co-chair­man of Bharti En­ter­prises, has said it is look­ing for a for­eign re­tail part­ner but will not cede con­trol­ling stake. The New Delhi-based group wants to part­ner with a global re­tailer not for cap­i­tal but for its do­main ex­per­tise and in­ter­na­tional best prac­tices, Mit­tal told a lead­er­ship team meet­ing of the com­pany last week, ac­cord­ing to com­pany in­sid­ers. Bharti was widely spec­u­lated among in­dus­try watch­ers to exit the busi­ness and cash out af­ter its six-year-old whole­sale re­tail­ing part­ner­ship with the world’s largest re­tailer Wal­mart Stores Inc ended in Oc­to­ber amid grow­ing dif­fer­ences be­tween the part­ners. How­ever, per­sons aware of last week’s lead­er­ship meet said the pro­mot­ers showed enthusiasm about the prospects of its re­tail busi­ness de­spite Mit­tal say­ing Bharti Re­tail is ex­pected to make losses in ex­cess of .` 400 crore for the cur­rent fis­cal year end­ing March 2015. A Bharti spokesper­son de­clined to com­ment on Mit­tal’s lat­est as­sur­ance to Bharti Re­tail’s lead­er­ship team. Bharti Re­tail cur­rently runs around 200 Easy­day branded su­per­mar­kets na­tion­wide and the chain has been re­ceiv­ing tech- no­log­i­cal and sup­ply chain sup­port as well as sup­plies from Wal­mart. But that agree­ment stands can­celled af­ter Bharti and Wal­mart parted way.

Cur­rently, Bharti is try­ing to build its own sup­ply chain for Easy­day stores and is slated to in­tro­duce its own pri­vate brand called Easy Max in the com­ing months. Un­til now, Bharti has been sell­ing a host of Wal­mart pri­vate la­bel food and gen­eral mer­chan­dise prod­ucts.

Mit­tal also told the lead­er­ship meet­ing that the Easy­day chain is in the process of mi­grat­ing from Wal­mart tech­no­log­i­cal and sup­ply plat­form to its own IT and sup­ply sys­tem and it is ex­pected to be com­pleted by De­cem­ber. Bharti plans to open only eight stores till then, he told the gath­er­ing, ac­cord­ing to sources.

Over the last 10 days, Bharti has rolled out three stores — at Morenda and Fate­habad in Pun­jab and Kalka in Haryana.

AL­LAY­ING FEARS: Ra­jan Bharti Mit­tal

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