New Delhi: Wal-Mart Stores Inc has deferred the launch of its first cash-and-carry store in India, after riots in the northern Punjab state following an attack on a Sikh temple in the Austrian capital Vienna on Sunday.
Punjab, where the first store was scheduled to open on Tuesday, is a predominantly Sikh state.
An official at Bharti Wal-Mart, the joint venture of the American retailer and India’s Bharti Enterprises, said she could not say when the launch would now happen.
“It’s too early to say when. We just have to wait and watch,” Arti Singh, vice president for corporate affairs, said.
“Hopefully the situation will settle down quickly and we’ll launch soon.”
The Bharti Wal-Mart centre, named Best Price Modern Wholesale, will be the first of between 10 and 15 planned wholesale facilities in India, measuring about 50,000-100,000 sq ft each, and employing about 5,000 people over the next seven years.
India’s fragmented and tightly controlled $500-billion retail industry is seen rising to more than $800 billion by 2013 but less than 5% of the market is in the hands of modern retailers.