As the 50:50 joint venture of Bharti Wal-Mart enters the fifth year of operation, the firm is now looking at expansion. Raj Jain, managing director and chief executive officer, Bharti Wal-Mart speaks to Hindustan Times on the sidelines of the industry chamber Confederation of Indian Industry’s (CII) seminar on retail.
FDI is being seen as a key enabler for retail to reach its full potential. Is there further dialogue required with the government?
There is no further dialogue required. The government knows the views of the retailers, the CII, and the FICCI and it is looking at it.
So far Bharti Wal-Mart has been conservative in India. What is your expansion strategy?
We are not conservative anymore. Initially we started slow so as to learn more about the market; and having done that we are looking at expansion. At present, we have five stores and by the end of fiscal 2011-12, we aim to add 12 more stores. Growth will come in from both metros and the tier-II and tier-III cities. It’s difficult to put any investment figures.
Is inflation biting into your business?
We are a B2B company and inflation has not fed its way yet fully into the supply chain. But we anticipate that it will start reflecting soon.
What will be the impact?
As more inflation bites in consumers will begin to downgrade from more expensive to the less expensive, they will move from branded to the non-branded, and private labels will get more space.