Mattel eyes Indian boost

Mattel wants India to open up the retail sector to foreign players who, it says, can boost its $250 million toy industry
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“If the Indian government does not open up 100 per cent foreign direct investment in retail, then it will limit our ability to grow here,” Mattel Vice-President Chris Willson-White said.

The growth of toy companies is critically linked to the growth of the retail sector, he said. Indian retail is growing significantly with bigger Indian companies entering.

“We need to grow. In the long-term, we see India as potentially a very, very large market,” said Willson-White.

“Local retailers are growing and we are growing with them and that is great. But their operations are relatively small in comparison with foreign players.”

Shoppers’ Stop has 18 stores, he said. “But if you had European retailer Carrefour coming here, it would open 300 stores. That is how they (foreign retailers) do business.”

Mattel entered the Indian market in the late 1980s through a joint venture with Blowplast, to market toys under the Leo-Mattel brand. But the two parted ways in the mid-1990s and Mattel has continued to do business in India on its own.

It now has a range of 500 products. Much of its toys are manufactured by companies in China, Indonesia, Thailand and Mexico.

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