New Delhi: Terming the decision to hold back FDI in multi-brand retail as "unfortunate", retailers have expressed disappointment and asked the government to consider partial opening up FDI particularly in the non-food segment.
"It is unfortunate that such an important and much needed economic reform has been suspended. I would like to reiterate that allowing FDI in multi-brand retail will benefit India immensely...," Bharti Enterprises Vice Chairman and MD Rajan Bharti Mittal said.
"...We hope that various stakeholders across the spectrum will take these facts into account, build consensus and allow this major reform to see the light of the day," he said.
The Retailers Association of India (RAI) on behalf of all its members has written a letter to the Commerce and the Finance ministries to open the non-food retail to FDI.
"If there is a concern over the negative impact on kirana stores, then at least FDI should be allowed in non-food categories such as apparel, electronics and home products," RAI CEO Kumar Rajgopalan said.
He said if the government cannot open all the segments of multi-brand retail to FDI given the current situation, at least partial opening should be considered.
Expressing similar views, Future Group CEO Kishore Biyani said: "We have been asking the government to at least open up non-food categories to FDI."
"There has been a lot of debate in the country already on this issue and I think soon consensus will be arrived at. We have been talking to our suppliers and consumers and they all are of the view that FDI is good for retail," he added.
In a separate statement, a spokesperson of Bharti Walmart, which is a joint venture between Bharti Enterprises and US' largest retailer Walmart said, "We respect the government's decision and look forward to a consensus being reached on FDI in multi-brand retail."
While refusing to comment on the issue of multi-brand retail, Reliance Retail (Lifestyle) President Biju Kurien said that relaxing FDI in single brand was a good news.
"From what we have understood it looks like FDI in single brand retail has not been put on hold, so it will continue to attract investments into the country but in a far muted way," Kurien said.