Walmart, the global retail powerhouse, intends to open 50 new outlets in India, and nearly half of these stores will be located in Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh as the company strives to enhance cash-and-carry operations in the country. At the same time, an ease in government norms could see Walmart expand its horizons into food retail as well.
With 20 retail outlets already established across India, Walmart aims at opening 20 more stores in the two northern states. 10 new stores each are expected to open in Maharashtra, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh too. The company also hopes to add two more stores in Lucknow, with one each located in Haldwani, Allahabad, Ghaziabad, Dehradun, Kanpur, Haridwar and Noida. Since each store creates 2,000 to 2,500 new employment opportunities, directly or indirectly, Walmart may end up generating more than 40,000 jobs in Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh.
According to sources, the retail giant, which had only a few years ago severed its partnership with Bharti before temporarily holding out on its store expansion plans, now sees great potential in Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh where competition from the likes of Reliance and Metro AG is few and far between. Reliance and Metro AG are Walmart’s biggest competitors in the cash-and-carry segment.
A spokesperson for Walmart India responded to a questionnaire from the Times of India, revealing, “Our commitment to the country is very deep and we are growing our footprints in India further by opening 50 more cash-and-carry stores in next few years across key focus states, including Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Haryana, Maharashtra, etc. Our development team is growing this store pipeline for last couple of years and we’re confident of continuing our contribution to the creation of thousands of skilled jobs, helpings kiranas, farmers & SME suppliers succeed through our cash & carry business.”
Walmart hopes to complete the opening of all 50 stores by 2021. The company, however, awaits verification on the food retail norms as it intends to offer more than locally produced and manufactured food products.
The government of India is currently pondering on relaxing the guidelines. The Walmart spokesperson added, “As we’ve said earlier, allowing 100% FDI in food retail is a very progressive step, but having a certain percentage of non-food items in this policy will make it economically viable.”