Wednesday 28 January 2015

Tata Group plans e-commerce marketplace foray under Ashutosh Pandey

NEW DELHI: Tata Group has started putting together a team for its proposed big-bang foray into e-commercemarketplace under Ashutosh Pandey, former COO of the Group's bookstore chain Landmark.
The Group has also roped in Sarvesh Dwivedi, who has been heading the lifestyle division of eBay India, three people familiar with Tatas' plans told ET. Gurvinderjit Singh Samra, who has worked with Tata Group's different arms, including its life-science and healthcare unit, Titan and Indian Hotels, has joined the e-commerce team, two of them said. "Obviously there is a small team as things are currently being sketched," one of them said.
Latif Nathani, managing director of eBay India, confirmed the departure of Dwivedi from the company, but said he is not sure where Dwivedi is headed. Prior to eBay, Dwivedi worked with and Reliance Retail among other firms.
ET had in September reported that the Tatas are preparing for an entry into India's lucrative e-commerce business with a marketplace model similar to Flipkart, Amazon and Snapdeal. A spokesperson for Tata Sons said that the Group has "interest" in e-commerce, but refused to share details for the proposed venture. "As we had told you on September 22, e-commerce is of interest to the Tata Group, and we will share more information at the appropriate moment," the person said in an emailed reply to ET.
Tatas currently run e-commerce portals for its Croma consumer electronics chain and Landmark bookstores. Its proposed new e-commerce marketplace, which will provide an online platform for small and large vendors and retailers to sell their wares, is expected to be launched next year.
In the initial phase Tata Group plans to sell products from its own brands including Star Bazaar supermarket and Westside department store. The company is also in talks with its joint venture partner Inditex to get Spanish brand Zara on board as well.
E-commerce in India is expected to almost double in two years to $20 billion by 2015 from $11 billion in 2013, according to a just-released report by Motilal Oswal Securities.

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