Carrefour SA, Europe’s largest retailer, has said it may start wholesale operations in India by 2010 and has initiated discussions with more than 600 suppliers as part of the plan.
Carrefour, which has named Lars Olofsson as its new global chief executive officer, plans to set up its first wholesale cash & carry outlet in the National Capital Region, the retailer has said in a statement.
Olofsson, a former Nestle SA executive, has vowed to make the retailer more agile and competitive. The company’s announcement of its India plans comes amid waning sales of the France-headquartered retailer.
Carrefour said the discussions with suppliers of food and non-food items were intended to help tie-up the back-end part of the business. The retailer today organised a partners’ meet to introduce the Carrefour Group and its project in India and to present the working specifications and mode of collaboration with suppliers.
“This meeting had three objectives: to introduce the Carrefour Group and its project in India, to return on the concept of the cash-and-carry store and to present the working specifications and the mode of collaboration with suppliers,” the company said in a statement.
Carrefour India Managing Director Herve Clec’h said the meet was also intended for relationship building and open business opportunities for suppliers in the company’s global sourcing network.
The company, which has 15,000 stores across 33 countries, had in 2007 announced its plan to enter India through the cash and carry route. It had said it was looking at opening its first cash and carry store in India by mid-2009.
Indian suppliers and smaller retailers have been opposing entry of big foreign retailers, fearing losses of jobs and business opportunity.
“Every market we enter, we work closely with local producers, farmers, agricultural cooperatives and manufacturers. In most Carrefour stores, around 90 per cent of the sold items are locally sourced,” Carrefour said in an e-mailed statement.
The group has a trading and sourcing office in India since the late 90s. Carrefour currently works with about 90 suppliers/ farmers in Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Delhi, Punjab and Haryana; directly dealing with the farmers for quality production and effective supply chain management. The various products being exported from India include organic clothing to Europe; fruits and vegetables to Europe, UAE, Indonesia, Europe, Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia. Currently Carrefour exports goods worth $ 170 million from India.
Source: Business Standard