After WalMart, $38 billion JC Penney Company Inc, United States’ largest catalogue merchant and among the biggest departmental stores, is coming to India with a $120-130 million shopping list.
Peter McGrath, in charge of product development and sourcing at JC Penney, will be in the Capital with his team to meet Indian textile majors including Arvind Mills, Vardhaman and Madura Garments, to place orders for his textile and apparel requirement.
Significantly, the visit comes just a year ahead of the dismantling of the textile quota regime, after which JC Penney plans to source knitted items, sleepwear and bottoms on a large scale from India.
A source involved with JC Penney’s procurement in India said: “We hope to increase it by 20-30 per cent during 2004. But you must factor in the scope for higher procurement from next year once quotas are done away with.”
JC Penney already has a supplier base in India and plans to divert a part of its global textile procurement to India. JC Penney currently sources apparel, shoes, home furnishing and diamonds, worth around $100 million a year.
In garments, the company buys T-shirts, men’s suits, blouses, denim bottoms and sports jackets from India.
Other exporters on McGrath’s shopping list include Shahi Exports, Pearl Global, SPL Industries, Gokuldas and Jai Industries. The retailer has also sought help from the Apparel Export Promotion Council to strengthen its presence in India.
Recently, WalMart had come shopping to India for leather products. It has booked initial orders worth around $100 million with five Indian companies including Woodland, Mirza Tanners, Liberty and Farida Shoes.
While the details of the products to be procured from India were unavailable, JC Penney in the past has purchased items like towels from India.
The company and its subsidiaries including JCPenney Purchasing Corporation and JCPenney Private Brands, both headed by McGrath, have operations in 23 countries.
Apart from meetings with Indian companies, McGrath — who is also the chairman of United States Association of Importers of Textiles and Apparel and The National Retail Federation — is expected to take up policy issues during his meetings with Commerce and Industry Minister Arun Jaitley and Textiles Minister Shahnawaz Hussain.