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Future Group to now tie up with an e-commerce site

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MUMBAI: A day after lashing out at e-commerce sites such as Flipkart for undercutting prices, Future Group CEO Kishore Biyani said that he would announce his ‘exclusive e-commerce partner’ soon, according to media reports.

As per the reports, Biyani agreed that he met Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos in Delhi last week, hinting that he might partner with Amazon to sell its private labels.

“We discussed many things like the macro environment, the prime minister and so on,” Biyani told a leading business newspaper talking about his meeting with Bezos.

“We can learn a lot of things from e-commerce players regarding their supply chain and logistics, sourcing and so on,” Biyani added.

The buzz is also that Biyani is expected to meet other e-commerce players for a tie-up.

The group would first take its fashion products online, followed by FMCG, general merchandise, food and others, he further said.

The reports also add, “While tying up with e-commerce portal is a ‘brand strategy’ Biyani said, the group’s own omni channel strategy, set to go live after Diwali, is a retail strategy or extension of his physical stores. He said the group's omni channel strategy will work simultaneously along with retailing on e-commerce partner.”

As part of the omni strategy, the group’s electronics format, Ezone, is expected to go online first, followed by premium food chain Foodhall and hypermarket chain Big Bazaar, a group executive further revealed.

Biyani recently came out strongly against the strategy of e-com firms, accusing them of predatory pricing backed with foreign funding.

Media reports quoted him saying, "Laws in this country do not allow sales below cost price. This is anti-competitive. We (at Big Bazaar and other retail brands) never sell below cost price.”

The future group also launched ad blitz, lashing out at the e-commerce portals with taglines like, "No deal can win the trust of a billion people, you have to earn it.”

His comments came after Flipkart announced that it clocked record sales of $100 million (Rs 610 crore) in just 10 hours of its Big Billion Day sale on 6 October. Rival Snapdeal also claimed to have matched it with its chief saying the portal saw sales of over Rs 1 crore per minute.

But the Flipkart Big Billion Day was far from perfect, the e-commerce portal later apologised for the glitches encountered admitting its ‘failure’ in living upto the expectations of its customers. Acknowledging that it was not adequately prepared for the sheer scale of the event, Flipkart promised to come better prepared next time.

Targeting the e-retailer after it released the apology letter, Future group released another ad with the tagline ‘You can't take a nation for granted even for a day.’

Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) too has expressed concerns over huge discounts being offered by e-commerce firms. It has asked the Commerce and Industry Ministry to take steps to monitor and regulate online businesses.

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