After studying law I vectored towards journalism by accident and it's the only job I've done since. It's a job that has taken me on a private jet to Jaisalmer - where I wrote India's first feature on fractional ownership of business jets - to the badlands of west UP where India's sugar economy is inextricably now tied to politics. I'm a big fan of new business models and crafty entrepreneurs. Fortunately for me, there are plenty of those in Asia at the moment.
The latest round of discounts for shoppers was longer than usual. Forbes India asked Arvind Singhal, chairman, Technopak Advisors, what this trend means:
Q. Retailers were forced to extend the recent round of sales. Is that a sign of weak consumer sentiment?
Consumer sentiment is still very subdued. On the one hand, the sales season has given a top line boost, so one could argue that consumers are spending money. On the other hand, it was extended by 15 days. We will know in three months (during the festive season) whether the consumer has stocked the products or will spend then.
Q. Foreign investment in multi-brand retail was notified about a year ago. Yet no one has committed money…
The political environment and economic indicators are on a steep decline. Also, there is ambiguity and uncertainty in the policy. For example, a new entrant must make $100 million investment in the backend. If you are a consumer electronics retailer, it makes no sense. As far as the cold chain is concerned, it is operated by third parties. Then you have to take state-wise permission and the BJP says there will be a rollback if they come to power. Is it a surprise why no investments have been made?
Q. Which retailers are doing well in the present environment?
Metro shoes, Fabindia and Madura Garments come to mind. Tanishq has also done well and is worth watching in the years to come.