India an important and long-term market: Walmart

Customers shop at a Best Price Modern Wholesale store, a joint venture of Wal-Mart Stores Inc and Bharti Enterprises, at Zirakpur

New Delhi, April 24: US retail major Walmart today gave India a thumbs-up, saying it’s an important and long-term market for the company and is excited about its growth plans here.

“India is an important market for us, and Walmart is committed to this country and the market for the long term. I am delighted to be here and excited about our growth plans,” Walmart International President and CEO David Cheesewright said in a statement.

He further said: “I believe that Walmart is integral to ‘Make in India’ through the benefits we are delivering in India.”

Cheesewright, who is in India on a three-day visit, reiterated that the company is focused on growing its wholesale business in India.

“We are pleased with our established and successful cash-and-carry business in India, which is focused on serving India’s kiranas and other small businesses. We are committed to partnering in India’s economic growth by enabling the right ecosystem for B2B e-commerce through investments in people, technology and supply chain,” he added.

The current norms allow 100 per cent FDI in cash-and-carry retail business and the previous UPA government allowed up to 51 per cent FDI in multi-brand retail, but with certain riders.

Other than Tesco, no other foreign retail firm has approached the government for permission to enter multi-brand retail space.

Cheesewright also launched Walmart’s B2B e-commerce service in Agra, making it the 16th store to go online.

Walmart runs 20 cash-and-carry stores under brand Best Price across 9 states and operates B2B e-commerce platform in seven cities in India — Lucknow, Hyderabad, Guntur, Vijayawada, Rajahmundry, Jalandhar and Ludhiana.

Last year, Walmart announced plans to open 50 wholesale stores in the next 4-5 years to widen its footprint across the country.

Walmart, however, did not reveal investment details or its expansion plans.

The company will extend its online platform in all its stores in 2015.

In October 2013, Walmart had called off its 6-year old partnership with Bharti Enterprises and decided to operate stores independently in India.

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