Amazon plans to add 100 offline kiosks to sell its own products in malls across India by the end of 2019, reports the Economic Times citing sources. The report adds that Amazon has 2 kiosks in Bangalore and one each in Mumbai and Ahmedabad, and opened a new one in Noida last week. Other than buying items at these kiosks, customers can also ask the store staff about purchases. The report added that the kiosks would be run by third party franchisees.

Amazon’s stakes in offline retail: Future, More, Shoppers Stop

As of November 2018, Amazon was in advanced talks to acquire a 9.5% stake in Future Retail, which operates offline fashion and food chain stores BigBazaar and EasyDay. However, in January, Business Today reported that the deal had fallen through, citing anonymous sources. Last month, Amazon was in talks to buy a stake in Future Coupons, owned by Future Group promoter Kishore Biyani, to ensure compliance with the new FDI in e-commerce policy.

In September last year, Amazon confirmed its investment in Witzig Advisory Services, which acquired More Retail from Aditya Birla Group. In January, the Competition Commission of India approved Samara Capital and Amazon’s acquisition of Aditya Birla Group’s More supermarket chains. More Retail operates 523 supermarkets and 20 hypermarkets in the country, and is already a seller on Amazon Prime Now, Amazon’s grocery delivery vertical.

Amazon’s first offline investment was a 5% stake in Shoppers Stop. After this, Shoppers Stop also began to sell its in-house brands on Amazon.

Amazon India funding

In December, Amazon India received a massive infusion of Rs 2,200 crore from Amazon Corporate Holdings Pvt Ltd and Amazon.com Inc Ltd. Amazon Inc had pumped Rs 2700 crore in Amazon India in August 2018. The current investment was the fourth tranche of investment in the company, this year, taking the total investment that company received in 2018, to Rs 9,450 crore. With this, the total money pumped into Amazon India went up to Rs 27,290 crore, inching closer to the mark of $5 billion (Rs 35,255 crore) investment that Jeff Bezos, Amazon CEO, had committed in 2016.

ED investigation

Last week, we reported that the Enforcement Directorate was investigating Flipkart and Amazon for alleged violation of the foreign exchange law. A case under the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) has been registered against the two companies, the ED told the court, which was hearing PIL that claimed e-commerce companies were violating FDI norms. The PIL, which was dismissed by the court, sought a probe into the violations it alleged.