Lauding the government’s efforts for improving ease of doing business, leading single brand retailers such as IKEA India and Tommy Hilfiger today pressed for more reforms in labour and land policies to help operationalise their businesses.
Much of the focus has been on easing norms for setting up of new businesses, but policy changes are required for their successful retail operations, they said and even pushed for a separate ministry to look into retail trade.
“We feel there is a genuine attitude towards doing things better. We are satisfied a lot… But there are four things which are necessary in operationalising the business,” IKEA India CEO Juvencio Maeztu said at a Ficci event here.
There should be an enabling environment for land acquisition, labour reforms, a proper retail policy and labelling issues in the interest of consumers, he suggested.
Making a similar point, Tommy Hilfiger Apparels India MD and CEO Shailesh Chaturvedi pitched for a cut in import duty to reduce the cost of import of garments and accessories for its retail businesses in India.
“Total cost of import comes around 150-155 per cent in India, which is higher than ASEAN countries. There is a need to bring down the cost,” he said. Tommy Hilfiger sells its products in 56 cities in India.
Chaturvedi let out that he was surprised to get a faster response from the government to a particular problem, which he thought would have have taken three months at least.
Walmart India President and CEO Krish Iyer feels there is a need to further simplify laws at state level for ease of doing businesses.
“We need to do away with obsolete laws even at the state level. I think the Maharashtra government has taken some measures towards this,” he said.
According to Trent Hypermarket MD Jamshed Daboo, the government has taken several measures, including FDI in single-brand retail, over a period of time, but the time has now come to converge all of them.
“A host of measures need to be converged and this is a huge challenge,” he said and called for formation of a separate ministry for retail trade in India.
With e-commerce growing, eBay India MD Latif Nathani said there is a need to address infrastructure bottlenecks to scale up the business and provide quality products at affordable rates to consumers.
India was ranked 130 out 189 economies in the ‘Doing Business’ report for 2016, up from 142 in 2015. It has set a target of breaking into the top 100 next year.