Owner Mittal maps eight-year plan
Indian company Bharti Enterprises is to spend US$1.28 billion (£658.1 million) expanding its retail empire over the next eight years.

The company said: 'After revolutionising the Indian telecom sector, retail will be the next big focus for Bharti.'

Bharti Enterprises billionaire owner Sunil Mittal wants subsidiary Bharti Retail to build hypermarkets, supermarkets and other stores to sell mainly locally sourced groceries, electronics, clothing and furniture. He forecasts revenue of INR200 billion (£2.33 billion) by 2015.

Mittal said that Bharti was hunting for sites with about 10 million sq ft (929,000 sq m) of retail space and will hire 60,000 staff.

The group plans to open in all Indian cities with a population of 1 million or more.

Bharti recently paired with US giant Wal-Mart in a wholesaling joint venture. Executives of both companies are to meet this week to finalise the deal.

Under the arrangement, Bharti will focus on running the stores, while the world's biggest retailer Wal-Mart will deal with supply.

Organised retailing represents only 3 per cent to 5 per cent of Indian retail, with family-run businesses the market majority.

However, industry estimates put Indian retail spending at US$300 billion (£154.24 billion) a year and this figure is set to double by 2015.