HBC has opened corporate office in India
Hudson's Bay Company has opened a new corporate office in Bangalore, India, focused on some accounting, finance, and IT-related responsibilities, according to an HBC spokeswoman.
A local report in India identified this office as a technology center for Saks, but an HBC spokeswoman told Retail Dive via e-mail, "HBC opened a corporate office in Bangalore earlier this year to support certain finance, accounting and IT areas, as well as other shared services... [It was not opened by] Saks Fifth Avenue. HBC is the parent company of Saks. Also, this is not a technology center it is a corporate office."
The move comes a little more than a year after J.C. Penney opened a technology center of about the same size in the same region of India as HBC has opened its own corporate office.
Generally, HBC' plans sound somewhat similar to several other retailers have been doing in recent years. By planting a presence in India, and particularly in Bangalore, they are getting access to abundant, educated workers able to serve in professional positions like financial and technology jobs.
In regard to the IT aspect of this opening, Bangalore has often been called the "Silicon Valley of India," thanks to the depth of technology talent in the city of nearly 10 million people, but any sort of corporate office also can serve as a gateway into a country that A.T. Kearney has identified as the top developing country in the world for retail investment.
Other retailers have also been busy in India, either establishing efforts to sell into the market, like Amazon has done, or by building a technology presence in India, and Bangalore specifically. Lowe's, for example, cut 125 tech jobs in the U.S. and sent some of them to Bangalore back in June, and Target was seen building up its technology team In India in 2015 at the same time that it was strengthening its technology organization in the U.S.
Most of the retailers that have taken these steps don't seem interested in moving all of their technology work to India. Just as J.C. Penney and HBC have zeroed in on a specific range of jobs to place in India (tech for the former, financial and tech for the latter), other retailers who build a presence there are likely to be careful about putting too many jobs far away from their home base.
That being said, retailers know they are under pressure from a variety of fronts, and need to change how--and sometimes where--they traditionally have operated their businesses. Retailer workforces are also undergoing a dramatic shift in responsibilities, and India's talent pool might be one ingredient to help them survive all of these changes.
Editor's Note: This story has been updated and originally stated that Saks Fifth Ave. had opened a tech center in India.