Archive for the 'Retailing' Category

Vivek Ltd

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Good Things Stores Pvt Ltd

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Shoppers Stop Ltd

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Pantaloon Retail India Ltd

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Growth Hormone: Retail reservation in IPOs must stay

Growth Hormone: Retail reservation in IPOs must stay

IN THE IPO arena, every time some new investigation is conducted by Sebi or a new development is reported, some set quarters start demanding scrapping of retail reservation. For example, this happened when the IPO demat scam, which involved fictitious applications, was uncovered by Sebi in 2005 or recently when a report came that some retail investors are renting their PAN cards to brokers for a fixed profit, by putting in applications on their behalf with all gains/losses to the account of the brokers.

The reasons forwarded for eliminating the retail are many. Some are as simplistic as all reservations lead to malpractices. Let me put this reservation issue in its proper perspective. Until the late 1990s, IPOs were available to all categories of investors, with no reservations. The big guys found this unacceptable because under the basis of allotment system, they would get only a handful of shares. The arguments used by them for demanding a reservation for themselves was that the retail lacked depth and with the IPO size becoming larger, issuers would have a comfort level of having 60% of their issues subscribed to by the big guys, who incidentally were willing to come in only with a high reservation and with allotments on a discretionary basis. This argument was buttressed by another — which though made sense—that compulsory institutional participation would validate the issues for the small investors though, in all fairness, this could have been achieved with, say, a25% reservation. So, in fact, there is no reservation for the small investors. What they are getting are the leftovers. Importantly, unlike in other reservations where there is an opportunity to favour specific groups/persons, the IPO retail quota is allotted only on an anonymous basis.

Some are against the reservation because of the huge gains that are made by the retail in what they call as the IPO lottery. This lobby argues that the retail obstruct the issuers from realising the right price. This is invalid as it is QIBs who dictate the issue prices, the retail only uses the cut-off option, agreeing to whatever price QIBs discover. The last year’s Economic Survey proposed doing away with reservation arguing that multiple applications stem from the incentives offered by under priced IPOs. This established at least one thing, that IPOs are under priced. Is it not a paradox that concerns about aggressive IPO pricing also exist simultaneously? What this argument overlooks is that QIBs and HNIs also get the benefits arising out of under pricing. For another, it is a myth that IPOs mean assured profits; IPOs can mean losses too as recent past has shown and so this reservation is not of a goodie. What was lost out is that the IPO demat scam actually happened because of the absence of a unique investor identification number. Significantly, the misuse has now been hugely curtailed because of the mandatory PAN requirement, as also the fear of an alert regulator.

The Economic Survey, like many others, recommended that we should shift IPOs to an auction system. Supporters argue that though QIBs, given their clout, will outbid retail investors in IPOs, if we do not object to QIBs outbidding retail investors in the secondary market, why should we object in the primary market. This is a faulty argument. The supply is infinite in the secondary market and so there is never an outbidding. In the primary market, the supply is limited, and at a low fixed price. Most importantly, would even QIBs want the auction system? Would they want to invest in an IPO that has only a handful of only QIB investors? What will then happen to the after-market and to liquidity? A public market will get converted into a private market.

What is the way forward? The auction system does have merit. Presently, book-built and fixed price issues are alike as the issue price in both cases is decided by the issuer (and not discovered by the market), the only difference is that instead of a single price, there is a price band. What I am not for is the entire IPO being sold through auction. Such a move would sound me death knell for the small investor.

Who is not equipped to work out issue pricing. Only 25% of the IPO should be reserved for auction to QIBs, the rest 7 5 % be reserved for the retail.

The allotments to QIBs should be done on a top-down bid price basis. This would help issuers get the best price for their shares from the institutional buyers, who too would be happy getting the desired quantity of shares at prices they are willing to buy at. After completing the QIB portion, the balance IPO should be sold at fixed price to the retail, for example, at the lowest of the QIB allotment price. An argument may be offered that a smaller reservation may push the QIBs away. Not true — if an issue is good, QIBs will subscribe. They have subscribed to 50% of a Rs 100 crore issue and to 50% of a Rs 5,000 crore issue.

If the big goal is to move more household savings into the capital market, it is imperative that the domestic investor base grows, IPOs have always expanded the investor base, as these are typically the best entry points. For the frauds of a handful millions of investors should not be denied the opportunity of participating in IPOs.

Pantaloon Industries Ltd

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Indians eager for Wal-Mart entry: Duke

Indians eager for Wal-Mart entry: Duke

Company Vice-Chairman Michael Duke Sees Increasing Support from Both Govt & Businesses

WAL-MART, the world’s largest company, says that it sees a groundswell of support for its plans to enter India. Michael Duke, Wal-Mart’s vice-chairman, said that businesses in India are eager for the Bentonville, Arkansas based retail behemoth to start its operations in the country. “We see a gigantic groundswell of desire from the government and from businesses for working with us in India. There is opposition but predominantly the groundswell is in support for Wal-Mart coming in,” Mr Duke told media persons. He was speaking on the sidelines of Wal-Mart’s annual shareholders meeting at the Bud Walton Arena at Fayetteville, Arkansas on June 1. Mr Duke looks after Wal-Mart’s international operations, which accounts for 22% of sales, and is by some distance the fastest growing part of its business. International sales grew a stunning 30% in the fiscal year ended 31 January 2007.

Despite what he perceives as support for Wal-Mart’s India foray, Mr Duke and other officials present didn’t make any announcements as to when the retail giant would enter India. “We are researching our consumers, mom and pop stores, farming methods. Lot of work is happening,” said Raj Jain, who head’s Wal-Mart’s operations in India. Officials who weren’t willing to be identified by name said the details of a joint venture with the Bharti Group were still being worked out. These included legal provisions.

While Wal-Mart and Bharti are expected to enter into a joint venture for the cash and carry segment, which will involve selling to wholesale consumers, mostly small shop owners. For selling to retail consumers, Wal-Mart is expected to enter into a technology transfer agreement with the Bharti Group. Indian regulations currently prohibit foreign direct investment in retail. “There will be collaboration in terms of processes, knowledge sharing and best practices,” said Rajan Bharti Mittal, Managing director, Bharti Enterprises. Wal-Mart sources about $600 million worth of products from India and 1,00,000 people work in factories which sell to Wal-mart. China’s interaction is an order of magnitude greater. It sells $9 worth of merchandise directly to Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart’s Internationalization was very much a theme of its shareholder meeting, understandably so, because international operations are now experiencing the kind of growth which the company experienced in the US in the 1980s and 1990s as it grew to current position at the top of the Fortune 500, However, in the recent past, same-store sales, a key measure of retail performance, has slowed in the US. For fiscal ’07 same store sales for Wal-Mart stores grew just 2 %. At the shareholders meeting, Wal-Mart announced that it would build a lesser number of supercentres (Wal-Mart’s main retail format) then previously announced in the US during the next four fiscals. Its stock price has been essentially stagnant for years. Wal-Mart CEO Lee Scott has been criticized for presiding over a 24%’ decline in share prices during his seven year tenure. At the shareholders meeting, Rob Walton, chairman of the board, emphasized the Walton’s family’s support for Mr Scott.

The meeting was part theatre, with performances from Jennifer Lopez and new American Idol Jordin Sparks, and part indoctrination session. The famous Wal-Mart cheer, which certainly has a passing resemblance to North Korea style propaganda sessions, seemed to have been enthusiastically adopted by Wal-Mart’s foreign employees, of which there were large contingents from China, Brazil, Japan and the United Kingdom. A small delegation from India, mostly US citizens of Indian origin working in Wal-Mart, enthusiastically waved the tricolor, in his address to shareholders, Mr Scott said Wal-Mart researching the Indian market. In all Wal-Mart is present in 13 countries outside the USA, the bigger ones being Britain, Mexico, Brazil, China and Japan. It has had its share of failures. It sold off its businesses in Germany and South Korea.

Lifestyle International Pvt Ltd

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B’lore road turns India’s retail hotspot

B’lore road turns India’s retail hotspot

Commissariat Road Beats Mumbai, Delhi Rivals With Rs 4.5-Cr Daily Sales
IF YOU’RE into retailing, here’s your must-have address in India: Commissariat Road, Bangalore. This one-kilometer stretch in the centre of the city is India’s answer to Fifth Avenue in New York and Champs-Elysees in Paris. It has quietly become the country’s hottest emerging retail catchment with daily grossing of Rs 4.5 crore.

In case you don’t get space there, try the nearby Vittal Mallya Road. Retail pundits are also betting on the road at the central business district (CBD) as a world class high-street in the making with the 1.5 million-sqft mixed use UB City as the anchor. UB City, nearing completion, will house one of the first super luxury malls in India adding luster to the street that already has Nautica, Esprit and ethnic chic brands like Satya Paul.

Commissariat Road has upstaged other new mall centric retail hotspots like the National Capital Region’s Mehrauli-Gurgaon Road and Mumbai’s Malad Link Road. The first four months of 2007 have seen this high street clock an average of Rs 4.5 crore in daily billings. Average sales per day for the Jan-April period from the Mehrauli-Gurgaon Road stood at Rs 3.6 crore, while for the Malad-Link Road it was Rs 2.9 crore, according to a survey by real estate consultant Asipac Group.

Retail industry heavyweights like Future Group chief executive officer Kishore Biyani concurs with Commissariat Road’s emergence as one of the busiest retail hotspots. But the industry appears divided over the size and significance of its daily business when compared to traditional retail spots like Con-naught Place in New Delhi and Linking Road in Mumbai.

Incidentally, the retail sector in Bangalore is growing at an annual rate of 45 %. The city today figures among the list of preferred launch markets in the country. Commissariat Road is home to retail anchors such as Bangalore Central, Garuda Mall, Shoppers Stop, Home Stop, Globus and Lifestyle. The survey states that Bangalore Central was the highest grosser on this high street, followed by the Lifestyle store and Shoppers’ Stop.

“Commissariat Road’s unique advantage over Malad-Link Road or Mehrauli-Gurgaon Road is that it is located in the heart of Bangalore, while the others are in subur-banlocations. The average number of bills/receipts issued by various retail anchors combine stands at 29,000 per day,” says Asipac Group chief executive officer Amit Bagaria.

However, even while recognizing Commissariat’s climb to the top of retail spots, a section of the retail industry argue that its growth could plateau in the medium term as it does not qualify as a shopping high street. “The street, no doubt, is one physical entity. But it is punctured by busy traffic stops. It is not possible to stroll down the street and has no cafes to hop into. It does not qualify as a high street, unlike Brigade Road, in the true sense,” says Fazle Naqvi, president, LMG Brands, a division of Landmark Group.

Spencers Retail Ltd

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