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Walmart sees great value in Omnichannel retail with Flipkart acquisition

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Walmart India said Tuesday with the acquisition of Flipkart it sees a great value in Omnichannel retail, although it will continue to focus on cash and carry business for the brick-and-mortar format in the country.

Speaking at Retail India Summit and Expo, Walmart India President and CEO Krish Iyer also claimed that the US$ 16 billion deal to acquire Flipkart has triggered renewed interest from foreign and domestic investors in India’s retail and Omnichannel space.

He also said demonetization played an extremely important role in the formalisation of economy and it, along with GST implementation, helped the retail sector grow.

Walmart India is a wholly-owned subsidiary of US retail giant Walmart Stores.

“The recent investment in Flipkart shows Walmart is committed to the country…We do see a great value in terms of an Omnichannel play in the whole process,” he said.

Commenting on the impact of the deal on the Indian retail landscape, Iyer said, “To a certain extent the investment made by Walmart has certainly triggered a lot of interest in the ecosystem”.

He further said, “A lot of foreign and domestic investors are looking at retail and omni-channel space with renewed interest”.

It is an opportunity for a lot of startup entrepreneurs to come into the space and become job creators in the country and create value for themselves as well as for the ecosystem, he added.

When asked about the company’s plans in multi-brand retailing, he told PTI, “As far as brick-and-mortar format is concerned, our focus is continue to growing our cash and carry business”.

Iyer said the company planned to open 50 cash and carry stores in India in the 4-5 years.

“That is on track. We believe we can add significant value to small mom and pop stores,” he added.

At present Walmart India has 21 cash and carry stores in nine states along with two fulfilment centres in Lucknow and Mumbai.

When asked if the company would continue to explore food retailing in India post acquisition of Flipkart, he told PTI: “No comments”.

Last year, Walmart India had said it is ‘evaluating’ foreign direct investment (FDI) guidelines for the food retail space in India as the Government has permitted 100 percent FDI in the sector.

On demonetization, he said sometimes it “doesn’t get the credit it needs to get for formalisation of economy but demonetisation has played an extremely important role in the formalisation of the economy”.

It along with GST has made a huge impact and helped in driving growth of the retail sector, he added.

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