No takers: Retail majors find it tough to get customers in India
CATALOGUE retail major Argos is winding up its two-year trial operations, including five stores in Mumbai and a telephone and internet ordering service, in India. The Home Retail Group, which owns Argos, announced that it had completed a review of its India presence and had decided not to continue. It operates the telephone and internet ordering service in conjunction with HyperCity, its Indian retail partner. The company had signed a franchising agreement with two of India’s leading retailers - Shopper's Stop and Hypercity Retail India - to develop the Argos retail format in India. It said the decision to stop the trial was made “mutually” by the group and its two Indian partners in the venture. “A decision to discontinue the trial following the initial two year development period has been taken mutually by Home Retail Group and partners Shoppers' Stop and HyperCity. The trial had not met the planned performance levels to support the investment required in the current Indian economic climate,” the company said. The company said that the existing retail operations will be wound down “at minimal cost”. “At some point in the future, the Indian retail market may still present an attractive long term growth opportunity for the Argos multi-channel model,” said the company. The joint venture, unveiled in 2007, was to use the Argos brand and product catalogue under the “Hypercity-Argos” name in stores initially based in the Mumbai region. The business was based on the Argos multi-channel format, combining stores with catalogues, internet and telephone ordering, and home delivery.
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