FDI in multibrand retail can help open our own stores: WalMart

"From WalMart's perspective it is essential (opening of FDI in multibrand retail). While we are happy to set up out back-end chain infrastructure for our cash-and-carry, in order to be able to monitise and see the final benefits of the supply we need to be able to serve our customers," WalMart India Managing Director Raj Jain told reporters here.
He was responding to a query on how vital is to allow foreign direct investment in the multi-brand retail.

"It is essential that FDI is open, so that we can open our own stores and carry the product in its hygienic and safe condition, not only at the farm gate but right up to where the customer buys," he added.

Asked if WalMart will go ahead and open its own retail stores if the policy permitted, he said: "We have not decided. Depending on how the law will be and what the law will be, we will decide then. Right now we are happy with our joint venture with Bharti Retail."

Earlier this month, the government had thrown open for debate on opening up of the politically- sensitive FDI in multi-brand retail, saying it would not only help farmers earn more but also keep the price-line under check.

Under the existing policy, Jain said even after setting up of a direct farm sourcing, cold-chain, which WalMart has done in Punjab, it has not yielded the desired results.
"So all the work we do at the back-end is of no use because it goes to the same channels, which then takes to the existing push cart vendors and so it does not help anybody," he said.

At present, up to 51 per cent foreign investment is allowed in single retail but none in multi-brand.
The US-based WalMart has a joint venture with Bharti Enterprises in the country for cash-and-carry business and runs the 'Best Price' stores. It has recently opened its second whole sale outlet in Punjab. It had said that it looks to open around 12-15 such stores in the next three years.

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