IRF 2016: Walmart India evaluating 'food-only' retail model

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Walmart India is evaluating policy guidelines to come up with a “food-only” retail model, after the Government has allowed 100 per cent foreign direct investment in food retail, a top company official said.
“We are currently evaluating all the policy guidelines and we do not have an ‘only food model’ anywhere. So, we need to conceptualise, evaluate and come up with a model, which takes time,” Walmart India CEO Krish Iyer said at our flagship event India Retail Forum 2016.
“It is not something we will jump into very quickly,” he added.
On Government’s move to open up food retail to investment, he said all the stakeholders including retailers, consumers, and farmers will benefit from it, and it will also increase access to capital, which will promote retail enterprise.
For Walmart India, food retail in the cash and carry business accounts for more than 65 per cent of business, he said.
“Particularly looking at the importance of food, we do believe that we will continue to focus a lot more on food in our cash and carry stores,” Iyer said.
He also noted that resellers, particularly mom-and-pop stores are the most important channel for Walmart.
“Our e-commerce (B2B) experience has been good, and while we do not speak about the e-commerce sales, more than 50 per cent of buying is digitally influenced,” he said.
Iyer further said that Walmart India is focusing on private labels, however, customer buying proposition is more crucial.
Walmart India has two private labels – Member’s Mark and Right Buy.
“The idea of private labels is to support make in India programme,” he said.
Walmart India operates stores in nine states across the country. In the next five years, it is planning to add 50 more stores, taking the total number to 70.
“We continue to focus on Tier II and Tier III cities, and the opportunities here are as good as metro towns,” Iyer said, adding that availability of land is a challenge in metros but the company continues to look for good options.

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