Depot set to follow Staples’ example


27 February 2007 — New Delhi (IND): Following OPI‘s exclusive news in January of Staples investing in an Indian JV with Pantaloon Retail, it has now emerged that rival Office Depot is planning to follow suit.

The Delray Beach-based retailer is thought to have already held talks with Reliance Industries, India’s largest business enterprise, to consider a wholesale JV with the Indian company.


It is also understood that Reliance’s retail unit is to establish a large chain of stand-alone stationery stores across the country within a two-year period as well as embarking on the wholesale JV.


Bijou Kurien, president and CEO of lifestyle at Reliance Retail, said: "Stationery is a part of our lifestyle business plans." He continued: "We are talking with several potential partners across the world for various partnerships, but the strict confidentiality agreement we signed with the companies does not permit us to talk on our prospective relationships."


Depot has confirmed its interest in entering the Indian market but has refused to be drawn on the specifics of a deal with Reliance.


Steve Odland, Depot CEO, recently told CNBC: "Our next focus has got to be India."


In January, Staples invested in a JV with Pantaloon Retail, in a deal thought to be worth $6 million. At the end of last month, the JV made its first acquisition. Staples Future Office took over the operations and management of Officedge, an online B2B OP firm that provides contract delivery services to corporate customers across India.