Procter & Gamble. (NYSE:PG), the largest U.S. consumer-products company, said fourth-quarter profit increased 36 percent, bolstered by its October purchase of Gillette.
With China’s retail sector already open to foreigners, India is the last retailing frontier left and the world’s largest chains, including Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT), Carrefour and Tesco, are seeking the best way to enter the country. More than half of India’s 1.1 billion people are under the age of 25, and their disposable incomes are rising in a country where the economy is growing on average 8 percent a year. India’s $300 billion retail market is growing even faster, at about 30 percent annually. 97 percent of the nation’s retail business is family run, so big international players are salivating. They cannot afford not to be here. The problem is that the government’s investment policies are restrictive, allowing only single-brand retail stores, for instance, as a means for foreign investors to enter the retailing market. So foreign retailers are trying to partner with Indian firms as a way to comply with the law and players like Wal-Mart and Carrefour are in talks with real estate developers.