FDI in multi-brand retail: Win-win situation for all, say experts

In a huge signal that it is shrugging off its policy paralysis, the government has pushed through the move to allow foreign direct investment in multi-brand retail.

Here is what experts have to say.

S.L. Narayanan, Group Chief Financial Officer, Sun Group

We are very excited that the reforms agenda has finally been accelerated. It is now possible for us to tap the wider audience and investor class – both in aviation and the broadcasting business. This certainly changes landscape for all players.

Nikhil Vora, Managing Director at IDFC

“…Very good news. It is very clear that equity investors would have been fairly unforgiving had this not passed through. So the reform policy was needed.

For aviation, Kingfisher is one of the clear beneficiaries. Spicejet will also be able to benefit from this move to attract investment. For retail, it is clearly a shot in the arm… it will possibly change the face of retail in India.

Thomas Varghese, CEO of Aditya Birla Retail.

“The retail industry is very attractive to investors. We have five of the world’s largest retailers already in the country. They are all waiting for a green signal and will bring in investment.”

“Don’t get all reforms out at once. Test the market slowly -- one at a time,” he added.

Govind Shrikhande, MD, Shoppers Stop

“Good news I would say, because it was announced last year, then rolled back.

Kishore Biyani, Founder & Group CEO, Future Group

“You create services, create jobs. Overall it’s a win-win for all. I don’t think it is in the interest of any country to push people bringing in investment away.

We (Pantaloons) have many opportunities. So it does open a lot of windows for us.”

Dr Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Planning Commission

“This is just the government taking decisions on issues in the pipeline. I am glad. They have been long awaited. The reason why it was held back is because the government wanted to consult with chief ministers. Many of them agreed. It is going to have a very positive effect in reforming retail.

(I) don’t want to speculate on the timing. I don’t think it has anything to do with a downgrade. It’s not that we didn’t want to do it. Earlier, we had put it on hold because the ministry felt it needed more consultation. There are still some who don’t want the policies.”

Adi Godrej, Chairman of CII

"The move to open up multi brand retail is a major step in the right direction and this will not only end a long standing uncertainty in policy making but also boost investors’ confidence besides promoting supply chains in the agriculture sector.

The move to enhance FDI caps will help increase capital flows which in turn should improve the current account deficit situation."


Raj Jain, MD & CEO, Bharti Walmart:

I am pretty sure that when states who allow FDI in retail will see the advantages of FDI to the farmers, they wouldn’t want to go back on that.

When we discuss with states, we will speak to them about the protection to investors.

Our plan is to look at the policy in detail, understand them, start talking to governments that are supporting the FDI in retail and then start planning to open stores there.

We will be making announcements soon. We haven’t been in talks at the state level. That exercise will start now. But we know which states are supporting and we also know the challenges at those states. So we would like to be the first on the block.

Anand Mahindra, Chairman and Managing Director of Mahindra & Mahindra

"From a Famine of policy action, we've moved to a feast. The Government's got back its gumption! We cheer & urge that they stay the course."


Mehul Choksi ,CMD, Gitanjali Gems

"This will help all the retail companies immensely & it will also go to the roots  to the farmers, this is the biggest news awaited for the industry. This will be of great boost to Retail Network, department stores & malls. As for FDI in Single Brand, it will help our bouquet of brands as it will open doors & this will ultimately help inclusive growth."