UK’s Home Retail expands in India

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Home Retail Group Plc, owner of Britain’s Argos and Homebase stores, affirmed it had signed a franchise arrangement to develop its Argos retail format in India. Home Retail said its deal with an Indian joint venture owned by Shopper’s Stop Ltd and Hypercity Retail India Private Ltd would lend Argos an entry point into the growing retail market in India.

In a parallel development, the company has also cut a deal to buy a stake in an Irish retailer. The company will buy a 33 per cent stake in Irish homewares retailer Home Store + More and plans to invest 7 million pounds ($13.7 million) to expand the out-of-town homewares chain.

Home Retail said Argos, one of Britain’s biggest Internet retailers, will be launched towards end-2007 under the “HyperCITY-Argos” brand, in the Mumbai region to begin with.

“These two ventures provide an exciting but cost-effective opportunity to leverage our skills, sourcing scale and capabilities over time,” Chief Executive Terry Duddy said in a statement. “However our core focus continues to be driving the organic growth opportunities within Argos and Homebase,” he added.

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