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Good news in India for global supermarket chains [ClearOnMoney]
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Commentary

Good news in India for global supermarket chains

24 Nov 2011 by Jim Fickett.

One global trend you can count on is that people will continue to opt for easier and cheaper ways to eat. In every country, there is some movement from small, local shops to supermarkets and from delicious, but tedious to prepare, traditional foods to fast foods. That movement just accelerated in India:

India is to throw open its $450bn retail sector to foreign supermarkets, granting access for the first time to giants such as Walmart, Carrefour and Tesco that have long sought to enter an underserved market of 1.2bn people.

The government of Manmohan Singh, prime minister, decided late on Thursday to allow foreign groups to invest up to 51 per cent in “multi-brand retailers”, as supermarkets are known in India, in the most radical pro-liberalisation reform passed by an Indian cabinet in years.

It also increased to 100 per cent from a cap of 51 per cent the level of foreign direct investment allowed in single-brand retailers.

“I think it will have a very deep and long-lasting impact on the Indian landscape,” Raj Jain, chief executive of Bharti Walmart, a wholesale cash-and-carry and supply chain management joint venture between the US retailer and India’s Bharti Enterprises, told CNBC TV18. “I think it will redefine the way consumers shop in India, but more importantly the way supply chains in India run.”

I have owned Walmart stock for several years now, in part as a way to bet on this trend. Tesco is on my short list of stocks to evaluate.