New Delhi: Wal-Mart Stores Inc said it would open its first cash-and-carry store in India on Saturday in the northern city of Amritsar.
Bharti Wal-Mart, the joint venture between the American retailer and India’s Bharti Enterprises, was scheduled to launch the store on Tuesday but had deferred following riots in the Punjab state related to an attack on a Sikh gurudwara in the Austrian capital Vienna.
The store, 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.
The entry of multinational retailers into India’s fragmented and tightly controlled retail industry is mired in controversy, and Wal-Mart’s entry is seen as a sign of foreign investors’ confidence in the country after the ruling coalition was re-elected two weeks ago.
India’s retail industry, currently estimated at $500 billion, is seen rising to more than $800 billion by 2013 but less than 5% of the market is in the hands of modern retailers.