American retail major Walmart sourcing from India hits $30 bn in 20 years

India is the first country, outside the US, where the retail major has announced an export target


Photo: Bloomberg

Aryaman Gupta New Delhi

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American retail major Walmart has cumulatively sourced products worth $30 billion from India over the last two decades even as it’s working towards an annual sourcing target of $10 billion by 2027, Andrea Albright, executive vice-president – sourcing, Walmart, said here on Tuesday. Albright was speaking at Walmart’s first mega sellers’ growth summit in India where the over-arching theme was accelerating the progress of the chain’s export commitment from the country.

The two-day sellers’ meet in New Delhi, on February 13-14, is the second time that Walmart is hosting its flagship summit outside the US. The earlier one was in Mexico. Typically an annual American event held in the US for about a decade dubbed ‘Open Call’, it branched out as a sellers’ meet in Mexico last April. “We are on track to hitting our commitment of $10 billion annually by 2027,” said Albright to Business Standard. While she didn’t give out any estimate of the current sourcing from India, market estimates pegged it at around $3 billion annually. 

It would need to triple its exports in the next four years for Walmart to reach the goal of $10 billion by 2027.

India is the first country, outside the US, where the retail major has announced an export target.

“We have brought members from our supply chain team in the US, members from Flipkart and PhonePe, as well as our Sourcing Innovation Team, to hear pitches from companies,” Albright said.

The Growth Summit, which is at a “much broader scale” compared to the earlier summits in the US and Mexico, brings together export-ready suppliers and over 100 Walmart merchants from the US. These global buyers will, over the next two days, evaluate products showcased by Indian sellers and entrepreneurs for export.

“Investing in high growth markets like India helps us strengthen our relationships with established suppliers but also developing relationships with new ones to build long-term surety and diversity and global supply,” said Albright.

The categories for sourcing of Indian products range from toys to bicycles, food to health, wellness, general merchandise, apparel and home textiles. India-sourced products are sold the most in the US market.

“New categories that we are focused on include toys, electronics, shoes and other shelf-stable food products, like cookies and crackers,” Albright said.

Walmart’s sourcing business operates separately from its subsidiaries Flipkart and PhonePe. In 2018, Walmart had acquired a majority stake in Flipkart.   

Whether Walmart will take the Growth Summit forward as an annual event will depend on the outcomes of this year’s run.

“We are excited and we will continue to evaluate the opportunity, whether that be sector by sector, or another Summit. But we are committed to continuing to support the growth of exports and entrepreneurs,” Albright said.

Sourcing is one of the four critical pieces of India business for the group, Walmart CEO Doug McMillon had told Business Standard in an interview last year. The other three pieces are Flipkart, PhonePe and technology.

In a video address to the forum McMillon said on Tuesday: "The ecosystem and infrastructure are part of what is so attractive about doing business in India. That's why in 2020, we announced our goal to source $10 billion exports annually from India by 2027.”

The India iteration sets itself apart through its focus on micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and entrepreneurs. Through its Vriddhi program launched in 2019, Walmart has achieved its goal of helping over 50,000 MSMEs learn new capabilities, scale, and maximize their business ambitions, Albright revealed.  

Betting big

Sourcing of Indian products ranges from food to health, bicycles, wellness, general merchandise, apparel, and home textiles

Newer categories include toys, electronics, shoes and other shelf-stable food products, like cookies and crackers

India first country outside the US where the retail major has announced an export target

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First Published: Feb 13 2024 | 7:54 PM IST

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