Future Group set to buy Le Marche

Indian retail major Future Group is set to buy out Le Marche, the hypermarket business of Fu-Com Retail India. Fu-Com India was set up by Fu-Com International, UAE-based retailing partners of the $30-billion French retail group Groupe Casino.

Fu-Com International operates hypermarkets, supermarkets and convenience stores across West Asia. A person close to the development said that the challenging retail environment in India had forced Fu-Com to rethink its plans. The financial details of the deal are unavailable, but the person quoted earlier said the move indicates that the Future Group is now warming up to acquisitions in the troubled retail environment.

It is still unclear whether Le Marche will be a part of Future Group’s value retailing business Big Bazaar, or moved under Future Ventures, its venture capital arm. Fu-Com’s stores in India were branded Le Marche. Future Group CEO Kishore Biyani said: “We are always looking out for opportunities that make business sense. But I will not be able to comment on this specific deal.” Fu-Com Retail India officials declined to comment.

Fu-Com Retail India was incorporated in August 2005 and the first store, called Le Marche Hypermarket, was launched in March 2007 in the western suburbs of Mumbai. The hypermarket offers an average of 45,000 product lines, including food, grocery, beauty care, apparel and shoes, house ware and equipment, consumer electronics and appliances, etc.

Fu-Com Retail has also leased some prime real estate space, which will now be taken over by Future Group. Future Group’s value retailing business contributes to 62% of the group’s turnover.