Bharti-Walmart awaits new FDI policy | business | Hindustan Times
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Bharti-Walmart awaits new FDI policy

business Updated: Jul 22, 2010 19:59 IST
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Cash-and-carry firm Bharti-Walmart is eagerly awaiting policy changes in the multi-brand retail sector and expressed hope that it could be a big player once FDI is allowed.

"If the law of the country changes, we can open hundreds of stores, but this is possible only if FDI is allowed," Bharti-Walmart Managing Director and CEO Raj Jain told reporters.

Bharti-Walmart, which is a 50:50 cash and carry joint venture between Bharti Enterprises and WalMart, runs the 'BestPrice Modern Wholesale' stores in North India.

Jain said additional manpower will be required as it plans to open more cash-and-carry stores in the country. "By the end of the year, we will be recruiting up to 1,100 people (for our cash-and-carry stores)," Jain said.

He, however, added, "As far as cash-and-carry is concerned, we can open 7-8 more stores," though the company had earlier announced it will open up to 15 more cash-and-carry stores in the country over the next three years.

At present, it has two stores in India (in Punjab) and employs 450 workers. The company had earlier this year said it will enter the southern and western parts of India within the next 18-24 months as it looks to expand its presence.

Earlier this month, the government had thrown open for debate the issue of opening up the politically-sensitive multi-brand retail sector for FDI, saying it would not only help farmers earn more, but also keep the price-line in check.

At present, up to 51 per cent foreign investment is allowed in single brand retail and 100 per cent FDI in wholesale, but none in multi-brand.

Jain was speaking while inaugurating the second Bharti-Walmart Training Centre in the Capital.

For launching the training centre, the company has entered into a public-private partnership with the Delhi government. It had earlier tied-up with the Punjab government to open its first centre at Amritsar.

Jain said the centre can enroll up to 2,000 students a year, where training in several sectors, including retail, BPOs and hospitality, will be imparted free of cost.

Bharti Enterprises and US-based Wal-Mart Stores entered into a joint venture in August, 2007, and started cash-and-carry stores named, 'BestPrice Modern Wholesale', last year.

Besides, Bharti Retail is also looking at doubling its retail outlet network to 140 from 80 odd stores now, Jain added.