Walmart India Plans To launch a Pilot Test B2B online operations in July.
One of the world largest retailers, Walmart, has plans to launch its business-to-business (B2B) e-commerce operation in chosen location in India during the next coming month and shall continue to “study the environment” for FDI in multi-brand retail.
“e-commerce is a promising business to be in. We will launch B2B e-commerce in Lucknow and Hyderabad from July 1. It is important to have a measured rollout,” Walmart India chief executive officer Krish Iyer said.
He said launching off the facility across its 20 stores in India would all depend on the feedback and response gained from the two pilot programs.
Although, Iyer declined to comment on whether Walmart would enter the online retail business to sell product directly to consumer, where FDI are not allowed.
When asked if the company would tie up with the local play for a multi-brand retail, he commented, “…we continue to study the environment, engage with the government. We will continue to respectfully submit to the government that Walmart can bring value to the country. We will keep scanning the environment and take an appropriate decision at an appropriate time”.
The US retailer called off its six year, 50/50 partnership with Bharti during October and decided to operate a wholesale stores independently within India.
Walmart had went on to acquire Bharti’s 50 percent stake in the wholesale join venture. Bharti bought $100 million of compulsory convertible debentures held by Walmart in Cedar Support Services, a company-owned and controlled by the Indian firm.
Bharti Retail is still running the Easyday stores.
Iyer reiterated Walmart’s focus in India would be solely on the cash-and-carry business. “My mandate is to grow cash-and-carry and our entire focus is going to be on cash-and-carry,” he said.
Underlining the potential of the cash-and-carry business in India, he said: “At present, the wholesale business is estimated to be $300 billion and it is expected to become $600-700 billion by 2020.”
During April, Walmart had announced some plans to open up 60 wholesale stores in the next four to five years to expand its footprint in the country. Walmart operates wholesale stores under the brand “Best Price” in India.
On whether the company will acquire the existing cash-and-carry stores in India, Iyer said: “We continue to look at all opportunities, we don’t rule out anything but we certainly plan a more aggressive greenfield expansion.”