Walmart to open 50 new stores in India

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US retail giant Walmart who acquired 77 percent stake in Flipkart for around $16 billion says it will continue to grow its wholesale cash and carry business, adding 50 new stores in the next four-five years.

“We currently have 21 stores and plans to open 50 stores in 4 to 5 years. Plans are on track,” Walmart India president and CEO Krish Iyer said.

Walmart CEO Doug McMillion said Flipkart, in which the US retailer is acquiring 77 percent stake, would continue to run as a separate board-managed company with co-founder Binny Bansal as the CEO.

Flipkart gives Walmart an online presence. So far it had been handicapped by India’s retail policy that does not allow many overseas companies to sell directly to consumers.

Companies like Flipkart and Amazon run as e-commerce marketplaces- a segment where 100% FDI is allowed.

“As we speak, we have a pipeline of 20 stores and we expect to open 5 stores in the current year and then pick up the pace and eventually start opening 12-15 stores a year,” Iyer quoted as saying.

The company currently operates in 9 states and 19 cities and will expand it there itself.

At its Best Price wholesale stores in the country, Walmart sells everything from fast-moving consumer goods to furniture to other retailers and institutions. It can be used as pick and deliveries points to online sales made on Flipkart.

Analysts believe that Walmart’s investment in Flipkart, whose 34 percent market share in India’s online sales is ahead of rival Amazon’s 27 percent, will boost the Indian e-commerce company.

Walmart who is buying a controlling stake on Flipkart will invest $2 billion in fresh equity. Its Stores offers close to 5,000 items in India.

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