Bharti-Walmart Pvt Ltd, the joint venture between Bharti Enterprises and US-based Walmart Stores Inc for wholesale, business-to-business, cash-and-carry and back-end supply chain management operations, has earmarked over $105 million (over Rs 480 crore, excluding land and construction) for cash-and-carry operations in India for the next three years. The company plans to roll out 15 ‘Best Price Modern Wholesale’ cash-and-carry outlets, each occupying a space of 50,000-100,000 square feet, within three years.
A Walmart spokesperson told Business Standard that the company is looking at setting up facilities in Tier-II and Tier-III towns. According to him, after consolidating its position in existing territories, Walmart would expand in Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi and, later, in Madhya Pradesh. The company opened its maiden store at Amritsar in Punjab in May this year. Keeping in view the slowdown in the economy and the lukewarm response to organised retail business chains, the company has been treading cautiously. The next outlet is expected to be set up shortly at Banur near Chandigarh.
According to sources in the company, fluctuations in commodity prices have helped attract more retail buyers as, due to an efficient supply chain management, the company has been able to stabilise the price structure.
They added that rising prices of essential commodities can be checked by streamlining inefficiencies and eliminating waste. Walmart’s business model is based on a robust supply chain management system, which has helped them tide over potential shortfall situations.
“Thus, while drought this year is undoubtedly a challenge, wastage in the supply chain compounds the problem. The current drought situation is, in many ways, a wake-up call to spur the necessary changes that can transform our supply chain, so that we are better equipped and better prepared for the best and worst of times,” sources said.
They added that the objective of the company’s operations was to cut wastage and not the middlemen, as they could play a significant role in improving the distribution network.
Bharti-Walmart has set up a Skills Training Centre at Amritsar with the aim of bridging the shortage of skilled workers for cash-and-carry and organised retail formats. The centre offers short-term vocational certification courses that equip candidates to become Floor and Sales Assistants or Supervisors through a special curriculum developed by Walmart, along with Centrum Learning (a Bharti Company), which manages and runs the centre. All enrolled candidates are awarded 100 per cent scholarships.