Global retail giant Wal-Mart will be a 'speck' in India's market and its absence won't make a huge difference in the country, finance minister P Chidambaram has said.
"Wal-Mart will be a speck in India's retail market. India's retail market is driven by millions of standalone stores. It has been strengthened by Indian retail chains. So why do we assume that Wal-Mart will make a huge difference to India's retail market?" he told CNBC-TV18 in an interview.
He was replying to a question on whether Wal-Mart's move to part ways with joint venture partner Bharti Enterprises was a setback for the Indian retail sector.
Bharti and Wal-Mart said on October 9 that they have reached an agreement to independently own and operate separate business formats in India and discontinue their franchise agreement in the retail business.
The US retail giant has been pitching for relaxing local sourcing norms under the foreign direct investment policy for multi-brand retail. The Indian government has said there is no plan to relax the mandatory 30% local sourcing norms for foreign players in the sector.
The two partners joined hands in 2007, and launched the first Best Price Modern Wholesale cash-and-carry store in Amritsar in May 2009. At present, there are 20 Best Price Modern Wholesale stores located at places such as Amritsar, Zirakpur, Jalandhar, Kota, Bhopal, Ludhiana, Raipur, Indore, Vijayawada, Agra, Meerut, Lucknow and Jammu.
India allowed 51% investment in multi-brand retailing in September 2012, but no foreign retailer has so far applied to enter the country.
Wal-Mart is the second-largest corporation in the Fortune Global 500 list for 2013, with revenue of $469.2 billion and profit of $17 billion.