7-Eleven wants to shake up India’s food retail market

The world’s biggest convenience store chain is wading into India’s massive market.

7-Eleven will set up its first stores in India later this year after signing a franchise deal with Future Group, a local retail chain.

Future Group will convert some of its existing stores to 7-Eleven outlets while also opening new ones across India, the companies said this week.

7-Eleven, which operates more than 67,000 stores around the world, is the latest global player to make a play for India’s rapidly growing market. The country’s grocery industry is currently worth around $380 billion, according to a report last year by the US Department of Agriculture.

Neighborhood mom-and-pop stores, where most Indians do their weekly shopping, account for an estimated 98% of the market. But Future Group’s Big Bazaar and other modern supermarkets are growing in popularity, and the USDA predicts their share will double from 2% to 4% by 2020.

India’s retail market has already attracted the biggest global names. Walmart spent $16 billion to take over India’s top e-commerce firm Flipkart last year.

Amazon, which has committed more than $5 billion to growing its India business in recent years, is looking to expand its grocery offering in the country. Local media report that Amazon is looking to buy a stake in Future Group. Both companies declined to comment.

7-Eleven, meanwhile, is making India its 18th country — a roster that includes the United States, Mexico, Japan, China, the United Arab Emirates and Australia. The company will offer “internationally popular products, beverages, snacks and immediately consumable fresh foods with recipes developed for local tastes,” it said.

“This strategic relationship offers an excellent opportunity to bring 7-Eleven’s brand of convenience and its iconic products to the Indian consumer,” the company’s international head, Ken Wakabayashi, said in a statement.