Wal-Mart Stores Inc recently announced its plans to open 50 more wholesale outlets in India and start online operations to sell to small shopkeepers.
Wal-Mart Stores Inc recently announced its plans to open 50 more wholesale outlets in India and start online operations to sell to small shopkeepers, several months after it decided against opening its own retail stores there. The world's largest retailer said it would open the stores over four to five years.
The company already has 20 Indian wholesale outlets. They sell goods to small shopkeepers, who dominate the nation's $500 billion retail market, rather than directly to consumers. Wal-Mart has no retail stores in India.
Wal-Mart's growth in India has been stunted by an internal bribery probe, uncertainty over regulations on foreign investment in the country, and in October, the severing of a partnership with Bharti Enterprises aimed at opening retail stores.
Full foreign ownership of wholesale, or "cash-and-carry", stores is allowed in India and has not generated any political opposition. Wal-Mart has been operating under the wholesale format in India since 2006.
"We are evaluating and reinforcing procedures and programs relating to all compliance areas, including licensing and permits, food safety, and responsible sourcing, among others," Scott Price, Wal-Mart's Asia Chief Executive, said in a statement.
A company executive in India said the first new outlets among the 50 would open soon in western and southern India, including the states of Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh.