NUSA DUA/INDONESIA: Wal-Mart Stores Inc’s retail plans with India partner Bharti Enterprises are “not tenable” and both sides are looking for the best way to move forward, an executive with the US retailer told Reuters.
“We created a franchise in retail with Bharti in the hopes that there could be a potential freeing up (of foreign direct investment) that would allow it to potentially be the base of the business. But frankly, the FDI has passed,” said Wal-Mart Asia Chief Executive Scott Price on the sidelines of the APEC conference in Bali, Indonesia
Wal-Mart has an equal joint venture with Bharti under which it runs its Best Price Modern Wholesale Stores in India and the US retailer last year called Bharti its “natural partner” to open its retail stores in the country.
India permitted foreign retailers to own 51 per cent of their Indian operations in September 2012, but ambiguity around rules governing the policy has ensured no foreign retailer has so far applied to enter the country.
“I don’t see how any foreign retailer can comply and quite honestly no domestic retailer is complying either,” Price said.
The biggest stumbling block for companies has been the government’s requirement that 30 per cent of their products be sourced locally.
Despite the uncertainty over the retail business, Price said the world’s largest retailer was not planning on leaving India and was actually hoping to expand its wholesale business.
“We are committed to India and we are not thinking of leaving India anytime soon,” he said.
Price also said Wal-Mart had no immediate acquisition plans in China but was keeping its eyes open for opportunities.
The US retailer also had no plans for expansion into Thailand or Indonesia, two countries where supermarkets have faced tough competition from local mini-markets. By Reuters | 6 Oct, 2013, 01.25PM IST