Retailing: India offers investment opportunities

CHENNAI, OCT. 7. India is among the six countries recommended for investment in the retail sector. China, Turkey, Thailand, Malaysia and Hungary are the other five. The `GO' (growth opportunities) signal figures in a retail and consumer study done by PricewaterhouseCoopers.

The study assesses growth opportunities in 14 countries in Asia, Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) and Russia. Most immediate opportunities in the retail and consumer sectors lie in China. India, it says, offers more long-term potential for investment in the sector.

Turkey, Thailand, Malaysia and Hungary are considered investment havens that offer general opportunities for development in the short or longer term.

Niche opportunities exist in South Korea, Poland, Romania, Czech Republic, Singapore and Slovenia despite the fact that they are already saturated vis-�-vis the size of the market. The study says Russia and Indonesia should be viewed with caution and seen as long-term investment options.

It is expected that as certain retail and consumer investors take a break after a first phase of investing in these economies that local players will begin capitalising on their increasing knowledge of modern retailing and their understanding of local cultures to make their presence felt more strongly.

This, together with the consolidation of local and foreign retailers' investments, will toughen the competitive environment considerably in the future," said Jones.

Consumer goods companies have already established themselves with success in India and there is huge potential for future development as the country modernises; at present, foreign retail and wholesale investment is restricted to cash & carry outlets and, to a lesser extent, e-commerce.