Shahadara hardly seems to a place for a multinational supermarket chain but the second largest retailer in the world Carrefour, has chosen the chaotic, some-what down market but vibrant east Delhi neighbourhood to gain entry to the vast Indian wholesale retail market.
The French retail group yesterday launched its first cash-and carry or wholesale outlet in Shahadara.
Government regulations allow foreign retailers to operate in the wholesale segment, though FDI is not allowed in the multibrand retail. Small shop owners and kirana stores as also political parties vigourously oppose further opening up the retail sector to foreign players.
The Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion had in a recent discussion paper mooted the idea of opening up of the retail sector which had received support from some policymakers who favour greater foreign participation in it.
In a joint venture with Bharti Enterprises, the world's largest retailer, Wal-Mart had opened its first wholesale store in Amritsar. It plans to open more stores over the next three years. Similarly, Germany's Metro entered the wholesale retail segment in 2003 and now has stores in Hyderabad, Bangalore, Mumbai and Kolkata.
The Carrefour outlet, will function under the brand name Carrefour Wholesale Cash & Carry. It will cover an area of 5,200 square metres (56,000 sq ft) and have food and non-food sections. It will cater to professional businesses, institutions, restaurants and local retailers.