Wal-Mart to step up rollout in India, says India chief

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Gurgaon (Haryana), May 12 (ANI): Raj Jain, chief of Indian operations for Arkansas-based Wal-Mart has said the company will accelerate its rollout of wholesale stores in India over two to three years, adding that the firm at present expects to open 10-12 wholesale centres.

"We will quicken the pace of expansion because when we announced our joint venture two and half years ago we talked about opening 10 to 12 cash and carry within five years time, we can now do that in probably two to three years," said Jain.

"So, we are signing properties and we will be accelerating our store growth and should be able to do 10 to 12 in less than three years," he added.

Wal-Mart at present runs wholesale operations in India in an equal partnership with Bharti Enterprises.

The chief of Indian operations described India as one of the most important markets because its potential for retailers is massive.

"India will continue to be among the top two to three locations, which all retailers throughout the world will be wanting to enter in. Both domestic and as well as international retailers. It's a very large emerging country, we all know about it, but also the fact that it is one of the most underdeveloped countries as far as supply chain and retail is concerned," said Jain.

"So, hence the opportunity is huge. Which also means that there is a lot of investment of time and money and technology, which is to go in, that means the opportunity is big but the challenge is equally daunting," he added.

The Central government has not yet liberalized its rules for foreign retailers in India.

Jain spoke about the restricted access for the delay and challenges in the process of expansion plans of the retail giant in the country.

"The few bottle neck for this industry is that there is legislation, which I think does not allow foreign retailers to make any investments in India. The government is thinking about," said Jain.

"Secondly, I think there are issues of real estate and infrastructure, which continue to be a big challenge for this industry. I think people availability is also a big issue. lthough we have a lot of unemployed youth, but they are not very well trained," he added. (ANI)

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