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Bharti Realty Talks To French Chain Lafayette For 1st Store

NEW DELHI : Bharti Realty, a part of the Bharti Group, is in talks with France’s upmarket department chain Galeries Lafayette for its first store in India. The company has also held discussions with Cupertinobased tech giant Apple for what could be the iPhone maker’s second flagship store in the country to be located at Aerocity near IGI Airport, sources said. Bharti Realty, the real estate arm of Bharti Group, has developed Aerocity into a retail and F&B hub on land taken on lease from GMR Group. The move comes against the backdrop of American chain of luxury department stores Saks Fifth Avenue pulling the plug on its plan to open its first Indian store in Aerocity after its talks of a partnership with Aditya Birla Fashion Retail fell through.

While the complex originally meant for Saks Fifth Avenue has been transformed into an office complex, Bharti Realty has started building another commercial development project of over 12 million square feet area in the vicinity, which it plans to turn into a retail and commercial hub. It has also come up with a similar property based on mix use development in Gurugram on Golf Course Extension Road that will be a mix of commercial space along with a range of retail and culinary giants.

While a Bharti Realty spokesperson declined to comment for this story, questionnaires emailed to Galeries Lafayette and Apple India by TOI did not elicit any response till the time of going to press.

Family-owned Galeries Lafayette, which has its flagship store in Boulevard Haussmann in Paris, operates stores in several countries and is currently on an expansion spree in China where it plans to open 10 stores by 2025.

Apple, which currently runs franchise-owned stores in India, has reportedly closed in on Mumbai to open its first company-owned store in the range of 20,000 to 25,000 square feet, similar to the flagship stores it operates in some other markets.

The company, which has been wanting to open fullyowned stores in India, got a boost when the government amended rules for singlebrand licenceholders in August. While India requires companies applying for 51% foreign direct investment (FDI) in single-brand retailing to locally source 30% of the products they sell in the country, it tweaked the norms to include exports and contract manufacturing among the mandatory 30% local sourcing norm over a period of five years.

Source : The Times of India

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