FIPB okays 4 single brand retail proposals

Less than a month after it cleared the Rs 10,500 crore investment proposal of Swedish furniture maker Ikea, the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) is understood to have allowed four more single brand retail firms to set up shop in the country.

The FIPB in its meeting chaired by economic affairs secretary Arvind Mayaram on Wednesday cleared four foreign direct investment proposals by single brand retailers including those by US-based watch and jewellery maker Fossil Inc, sportswear giant Decathlon, French fashion house Promod and crockery maker Le Creuset. The proposals are estimated to involve investments to the tune of Rs 750 crore.

A slew of companies are making a beeline for the Indian markets since the government relaxed sourcing norms for overseas single brand retailers in September last year even though 100 per cent FDI in the sector is allowed since January, 2012.

While Le Creuset, Fossil Inc and Decathlon had sought approval for 100 per cent FDI, Promod plans to enter the markets through a joint venture.

Of the four, France-based Decathlon, which is the world's biggest sportswear retailer, is the largest proposal and is expected to bring in foreign equity worth Rs 700 crore. Meanwhile, Promod is likely to invest Rs 30 crore while Fossil plans to bring in over Rs 22 crore as foreign equity.

Crockery maker Le Creuset, which already operates a cash-and-carry business in India, may not bring in fresh investment but rather get funding from its existing wholesale operations.

Apart from Ikea, the FIPB has in the recent past cleared several major single brand retail proposals including those from British footwear retailer Pavers England, American luxury clothing retailer Brooks Brothers and Italian jewellery maker Damiani.

Other retailers too have evinced interest. Applications from global apparel maker Tommy Hilfiger, European brand Na Pali, American shoe-maker Skechers and Thailand-based Lotus Arts are also pending with the Department of Industrial Promotion and Policy for opening single brand retail outlets in the country.

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