With a formal announcement of the much-awaited FDI norms for retail sector, action is just going to get red hot in terms of M&A and PE investments. VCCircle takes a look at the state of the industry and also at the major players to watch out for.

The retail market in India is estimated at $470 billion in 2011 and is projected to grow to $675 billion by 2016, with a CAGR of 7.5 per cent over the next five years, according to consulting firm Technopak Advisors.

Food & grocery has the highest share of organised retail at 35 per cent. Adding apparel, jewellery & watches, consumer electronics and IT to this would constitute 80 per cent of the organised retail market in India in 2011, according to Technopak.

Many of the big retailers across the world already have ties in India as a part of their global supply chain for products like apparel, tea, fruits, etc. See the table for the list of top global retail firms in terms of revenues.

Moreover, even when the FDI policy was under consideration, a few large players from around the world entered India over the past 4-5 years through cash-and-carry play. These players, who have mostly formed JVs with local business groups, can now look at expanding their businesses to front-end, thanks to easing of regulations.

The world’s largest retailer Wal-Mart formed a 50:50 JV with Bharti Enterprises in 2007 for wholesale cash-and-carry business. And Tata Group-owned Trent’s Star Bazaar tied up with UK’s largest retailer Tesco to use its supply chains and infrastructure.

Some players have also forayed into the cash-and-carry business, which is essentially wholesale retailing. French retailer Carrefour, which had reportedly held talks with Kishore Biyani’s Future Group, among others, also opened its first cash-and-carry outlet in the country in Delhi last December. Germany’s Metro was one of the first entrants in 2003 and currently has eight cash-and-carry outlets across the country.

While Carrefour, Wal-Mart and Tesco have expressed interest in front-end presence as the sector opens, Metro has said that it doesn’t currently plan to introduce its hypermarket and consumer electronics chains in India.

The list of key retail players in India has a fair mix of old business houses and new groups. These include Bharti Group, Mukesh Ambani’s RIL, Tatas and the Aditya Birla Group, among others. But India’s largest retailing outfit is Kishore Biyani’s Future Group, with formats like Big Bazaar, Food Bazaar, Home Town, Furniture Bazaar and e-zone, among others.

RIL has stores under Reliance Fresh and Reliance Mart Hypermart while Tata Group operates Trent, Star Bazaar and electronics store Croma. Aditya Birla Group has also opened retail stores under the ‘More’ brand.

RPG Group has Spencer’s Hyper and Music World while K Raheja Group has promoted India’s first departmental store Shopper’s Stop. There are, however, numerous specialised retailers for books, mobile handsets, apparel, electronics and groceries, to name a few segments.

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