New Delhi: The world’s largest retail chain, Wal-Mart, said it has hired a company in India for undertaking quality control of its sourcing business and has no plans to cut down sourcing from here for its international operations.
The company had closed it offices in Mumbai and Delhi over past one year, leading to assumptions that the Bentonville (Kentucky)-based company was on way to reducing sourcing from India.
“As a part of our efforts to achieve an efficient and effective supply chain, Wal-Mart consolidated and centralised certain functions in India ... As a result, we closed our offices in Mumbai last year and in Delhi this June,” a company spokesperson said.
“These decisions should not affect local sourcing volumes in India,” she added.
The spokesperson said Wal-Mart has engaged a third party service provider to conduct inspection of merchandise and plans to focus internally more on merchandise development and quality assurance.
The company is present in India through a joint venture, Bharti Wal-Mart, with Bharti Retail in the wholesale cash-and-carry segment.
It had recently introduced its global private labels in India and is now looking at enhancing the portfolio, the spokesperson added.
Wal-Mart’s private labels are available through Bharti Retail’s large format stores ‘Easyday´. It already sells eight such brands in India through Bharti’s stores.
“We are constantly working towards enhancing our private label portfolio,” the spokesperson said, without providing further details of brands or target sales.
The spokesperson said private labels account for 13-15% of the total sales at the Easyday supermarkets.
“Private label is a very intrinsic and important part of good retailing and wholesaling ... (They) provide us with the opportunity to work directly with the manufacturers and bring quality products at lower prices,” the spokesperson said.
Wal-Mart’s eight brands introduced in India - Great Value, Aircare, Equate, George, Astitva, Home Trends, Mainstays, Kid Connection and Athletic Works - cover segments from food to personal care products and from sports items to apparels and furnishings.
An email query sent to Bharti Retail remained unanswered.
The JV company, Bharti Wal-Mart, had opened its first business-to-business wholesale store at Amritsar in May this year.
The company plans to open 10-15 of these ‘Best Price Modern Wholesale´ stores across the country in next three years.