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Bharti Wal-Mart sticks to India plan

business Updated: Nov 12, 2008 12:30 IST

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Bharti Wal-Mart, a wholesale operator for serving grocery and retail chains on Wednesday said it has no plans to hold back its 'B2B' (business-to-business) operations in India despite the current market slowdown.

"We are not putting our plans (for launching our cash and carry stores) on hold despite market instability. We are fully committed to our long term investments for India," Bharti Wal-Mart Pvt Ltd Managing Director and CEO Raj Jain told reporters here today.

Bharti Wal-Mart is a joint venture between Bharti Enterprises and US retail giant Wal-Mart.

The joint venture, which is for wholesale cash-and-carry and back-end supply chain management operations in India, is scheduled to open its first store in Punjab in the first quarter of the next fiscal.

"We will be opening our first store in Punjab between April and June," Jain said. The company is at present in the process of building stores in Amritsar, Jalandhar and Ludhiana.

A typical cash and carry store will occupy 50,000 to 100,000 sq.Feet and sell a wide range of fruits and vegetables, groceries, footwear, clothing and other general merchandise. As per the plans, the joint venture would open 15 stores in next seven years and employ 5,000 people over next seven years. It has also opened an Operational Distribution Centre at Banur near Rajpura, occupying space of 90,000 sq.Feet.

Expecting a major price correction in the real estate sector, Jain said the joint venture was hoping to capitalise on sluggishness prevailing in this sector.

"We are hoping significant correction in real estate prices, including rentals, which will offer a great opportunity for us to take advantage of the correction," he said adding that "5-10 per cent correction in prices will not be enough. It should be significant."