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Amazon gets govt approval to enter food retail biz in India

Employees of Amazon India are seen behind a glass bearing the company's logo inside its office in Bengaluru, India Photograph: (Reuters)

Reuters Mumbai 11 July 2017 Jul 11, 2017, 07.05 AM (IST)

Online retail giant Amazon has secured approval to stock and sell food and groceries in India. The online retail giant will be expanding its business in the fast-growing economy where it is in a pitched battle with home-grown rival Flipkart.

Amazon confirmed winning government approval for its plan to sell food products, but it declined to provide further details.

Separately, a source said Amazon planned to invest $500 million in the food segment, over and above the $5 billion it had already committed to investing in India.

Cheaper smartphones, increasing internet penetration and steep discounts have led to a surge in domestic online shopping for everything from gadgets to clothes and food items in India. 

Still, mom-and-pop stores account for the biggest share of grocery sales, offering organised players huge growth potential.

Currently, Amazon offers food products in India via Amazon Pantry, where retailers including joint venture Cloudtail sell various products. It also offers same-day grocery delivery on its Amazon Now app through a tie-up with Indian retailers Big Bazaar, Star Bazaar and Hypercity.

Amazon did not comment on whether its new investments would affect any of its existing tie-ups or its Cloudtail joint venture.

Venture-funded Flipkart, whose backers include Tiger Global, Tencent Holdings and Microsoft, also plans to move into the groceries space, company executives have said.

Amazon last month announced plans to buy upscale US  grocer Whole Foods Market for $13.7 billion.

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