Despite the regulatory hassles, US retail giant Walmart will continue investing in cash-and-carry (wholesale), cashing in on the growth of traditional kirana retailing. The world's largest organised retailer, which exited from its tie-up with Bharti's multi-brand retail joint venture in 2013, will expand its wholesale network to 70 stores in five years from the present 20 stores.
Krish Iyer, President and CEO of Walmart India, told Business Today that multi-brand retail is not the company's present focus. Walmart is aiming for 25-30 per cent growth by expanding its wholesale footprint over the next few years. In addition, it has entered into online wholesale business in the country.
"India has strong traditional trade, which gives opportunity for wholesale business," he said, adding that going forward Walmart will continue to expand in tier 1 and tier 2 cities. The company is aiming for organic growth in the country.
The company had been running the wholesale business under the name Best Price for the last six years. It has simplified the processes for opening of stores and entered into attractive real estate deals for better margins. Recently the group had infused Rs 600 crore in the Indian business for the expansion. The cash-and-carry of Walmart in the US, Mexico, Chile, Brazil, China generates a turnover of $65 billion.
Despite the challenges, Iyer said that India continues to remain a vibrant market and there is much space for Walmart to grow here.