Bharti, Wal-Mart open their first joint store in India (Lead)

May 30th, 2009 - 5:09 pm ICT by IANS  

Amritsar, May 30 (IANS) India’s Bharti group and Wal-Mart, the world’s largest retailer, opened their first cash-and-carry joint venture store here Saturday on an investment of $7 million, and they plan to open at least 15 outlets across the country in the next three years.
The stores will be run under the brand name of Best Price Modern Wholesale.

“This is a beginning and we will come up with 15 more stores in three years and employ more than 5,000 people,” said Bharti Enterprises vice chairman and managing director Rajan Bharti Mittal.

“We have tied up with 30,000 retailers and 8,000 suppliers and expect more to join us,” Mittal said after inaugurating the outlet.

The Amritsar store, spread over about 50,000 square feet, will provide 200 direct and 500 indirect jobs.

“Within 6-12 months you will see many such ventures in Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. We have brought properties there,” said Mittal but declined to divulge further details.

“About 80 percent of our suppliers are from Punjab. We will set up our next store in Ludhiana. Each store will require about $7 million. This does not include the land price.”

Raj Jain, managing director and chief executive of the joint venture Bharti Wal-Mart India, said a lot of planning and preparation had gone into the project in the past 12 months.

“The hard work will now bear fruit as we open the doors of our first cash-and-carry store in India.”

Best Price Modern Wholesale will offer an assortment of around 6,000 items, including food and non-food items, at competitive wholesale prices.

Over 90 percent of the goods will be sourced locally, helping keep down costs.

Bharti Wal-Mart, in association with the Punjab government, has also started a training centre offering full scholarship to bridge the shortage of skilled workers for cash-and-carry and organised retail formats.

The company had earlier planned to open the store May 26 but this had to be deferred on account of the violence that erupted in Punjab following the killing of a spiritual leader in Austria.

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