Tatas join Woolworths for foray into retail segment

New Delhi, October 4 :

India’s Tata group plans to invest $87 million to launch a chain of consumer and electronic goods mega-stores as it moves into the fast-developing retail sector, a statement said today.

The Indian giant conglomerate has struck a technical and sourcing deal with retailer Woolworths, which has over 2,000 stores across Australia, to supply the new company to be known as Infiniti Retail.

The venture will be India’s first national, large-format, specialist retail chain for consumer electronics and durables, selling music systems, kitchen appliances, mobile phones, computers and a range of other goods. “The launch of ‘Croma’(shop brand) will herald India’s first organised entrant in consumer electronics and durable retailing, a highly fragmented sector which has thus far seen the emergence of a few regional players,” R K Krishna Kumar, director of Tata Sons, said.

Infiniti Retail plans to set up 100 stores by March 2010 across the country, with the first one opening next week in India’s financial hub Mumbai.

This is the Tata group’s second retail foray. Another Tata retail company, Trent Ltd, runs a chain of department stores and hypermarkets across India. India’s retail market is still dominated by small mom-and-pop street corner shops but is in a process of transformation making way for department stores, hypermarkets and malls. Global retail chains which offer many brands such as Wal-Mart are still banned from making direct investments.