Argos abandons trial in India

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The Independent Online

The owner of catalogue retailer Argos today abandoned an attempt to develop the brand in India, in what was its first international expansion outside of Europe.

Home Retail Group said a trial run of its franchising venture had not performed as planned to support the investment needed in the current Indian economic climate.

The group said the existing retail operation would now be wound down at "minimal cost" to the group, adding that India's retail market may in the future still present an "attractive long-term growth opportunity" for Argos.

It said the decision to stop the trial was made "mutually" by the group and its two Indian partners in the venture.

The company had signed a franchising agreement with two of India's leading retailers - Shopper's Stop and Hypercity Retail India - to develop the Argos retail format in India.

The joint venture, unveiled in 2007, was to use the Argos brand and product catalogue under the "Hypercity-Argos" name in stores initially based in the Mumbai region.

The business was based on the Argos multi-channel format, combining stores with catalogues, internet and telephone ordering, and home delivery, while Argos provided it with IT support.

The group's chief executive Terry Duddy said at the time the move represented an opportunity to establish an "initial foothold" in a "rapidly expanding market".