US retail giant Walmart plans to open 50 new stores in India as it seeks to ramp up operations in the cash-and-carry segment, while also eyeing food retail if the government eases regulations, reports the Times of India (TOI).
The 50 new stores will be opened over the next three-to-four years across key focus states, the report said.
A Walmart spokesperson told the paper that Walmart's commitment to India is "very deep".
"Our development team is growing this store pipeline for the last couple of years and we're confident of continuing our contribution to the creation of thousands of skilled jobs, helpings kiranas, farmers and SME suppliers succeed through our cash-and-carry business," the spokesperson said.
Sources told TOI that Walmart, which currently has 20 outlets across the country, is planning to open 20 of its new stores in the two northern states, Uttar Pradesh (UP) and Uttarakhand, where BJP recently swept to power. In addition, the US retailer plans to open 10 stores each in Maharashtra (where it currently operates its 'Best Price outlets in Amravati and Aurangabad), Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.
Walmart is looking at two more stores in Lucknow in addition to Ghaziabad, Noida, Kanpur, Allahabad, Haridwar, Dehradun and Haldwani.
With each store providing direct and indirect employment to 2,000-2,500 persons, the company may end up creating over
40,000 jobs in UP and Uttarakhand, TOI said.
The sources told TOI that the retailer, which parted ways with Bharti a few years ago and had put its store expansion on hold, sees enormous opportunity in UP and Uttarakhand where there is little competition from others (such as Metro AG and
Reliance) operating in the cash-and-carry format.
Cash-and-carry stores are wholesale outlets, which are only allowed to sell to retailers, canteens and hotels. Walmart is, however, understood to be awaiting clarity on the food retail guidelines as it does not want to limit itself to domestically produced and manufactured food products, TOI said.