MUMBAI: Consumer durables heavyweight Videocon Industries is venturing into the grocery and lifestyle retailing space through cash & carry format across the country. The company has hired several senior expats with global retail experience, headed by an Italian Marco Padella who has worked with Carrefour and Metro AG in Italy for the cash & carry formats.

Talks are on to hire the former Asia-Pacific head of Electrolux Peter Birch to head Videocon’s entire retail businesses. Some of the names being considered for the format are Bold, Next Cash & Carry and Videocon Cash & Carry.

The company may also tie up with a global player in this space, sources close to the development said. All the retail businesses like Next Retail, Planet M and the cash & carry format currently housed under Videocon Industries will also be spun off as Videocon Retail some time in mid-08.

“The growth in consumer demand and the growing share of the organised players in retail is compelling. We see the retail business, which is currently doubling for us each year, as a great value proposition,” said Venugopal Dhoot, CMD, Videocon Industries.

KSA Technopak, Ernst & Young and Price WaterhouseCoopers have been roped in to advise the company on the retail initiative. The company has kicked off the venture by acquiring land in Ahmedabad, Calcutta, Bangalore, Aurangabad and Ahmednagar.
The cash & carry business will retail food, grocery, apparel, footwear, consumer electronics, furnishings, hardware and general merchandise. Videocon plans to set up around 40 large stores, each consisting of 1,00000 to 75,000 sq ft across the country, for its cash & carry business by 2012.

A back-end office for the business is being set up in Navi Mumbai to deal with domestic and other global suppliers. Meanwhile, the company has hired Essar Retail’s COO Subir Ghosh to head the Planet M business. K S Raman is the executive director of all the retail businesses. Videocon Industries has outlined a total investment of Rs 4,000 crore during the next five years in the retail business.