Walmart India, a wholly owned subsidiary of Walmart Inc, owns and operates 27 Best Price Modern Wholesale stores in nine States across India. It sells only to member customers. It has recently set up a store in Warangal and has plans to set more in Telugu States. Its President and CEO Krish Iyer explains to Telangana Today about company’s India operations.
Presence in India
The first best price store in India was opened in 2009. Subsequently, since 2014 we became a 100 per cent subsidiary of Walmart, we started once again focusing on growing this format. Till then, we had 20 stores. We started building a pipeline of stores to grow our brick and mortar stores rapidly. In June 2014, we also introduced our e-commerce platform in every store. The business became an omni-channel business from the customer point of view. In the last 13 months, we have opened seven new stores in different cities. We continue to open more stores as we continue to grow. We are going on as per our plan of having 50 stores in India. We are continuing to open more and the recent one was in Warangal. We will soon open in Kurnool next week and then in Tirupati. We continue to sign properties but it will take some time.
The Indian traditional retail market by 2027 is expected to be $ 1.2 trillion. The market is huge and more players are welcome. There is scope for kirana stores and startups and other ecosystem enablers to grow.
Market in the days of lowest GDP
There is a bit of slowdown but we are doing good business and are seeing good traffic at our stores. We are still making good sales and we are meeting our targets. We are currently happy with the state we are in. We do not see any concern. The overall retail growth has been good for some years now. India is an attractive market.
Customers are continuing to shop with us. I would not be able to tell how other sectors are doing. We are currently getting the required support from the Government. For instance, wherever we need licences to open our new stores we are getting them without any delay from all the States whether it is Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Punjab or any other State.
Why a co-branded credit card
The tie-up with HDFC has been in works for several months. We have researched what the customers needed and evolved a product that will meet their expectations. The launch is backed by market data we gathered. At best it can be said that the launch is coinciding with the market conditions prevalent now. Our customers wanted a some credit for a limited period. That is what we are giving it now through a tie-up with HDFC credit cards. What we launched is a credit card for B2B models.
We cater to resellers, hotels, restaurants and caterers and lastly to offices and institutions. Resellers are the key segment and within this the kirana segment is our main focus area. About 60 per cent of the sales from food, fresh and food related segments.
We are building businesses from the customer point of view. We look at unit economics and try to continue to build. We sell products at the lowest price. Customers are able to buy everything under one roof. It takes time to build overall profitability. I would consider those losses more as an investment for the future.