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Bharti Walmart to open six wholesale stores this fiscal

Posted on Sep 26, 08:52PM | IANS

Bharti Walmart, the joint venture between Bharti Enterprises and Walmart Stores Inc, plans to open six more Best Price modern wholesale stores in India during the current financial year.

The firm, which opened its 18th store in India here Wednesday, also plans to open 10 stores every year.

Spread over 53,000 square feet, the Best Price store which has come up at Sivarampally on Rajiv Gandhi International Airport Road, is the first store in Hyderabad and the third in Andhra Pradesh.

Bharti Walmart already has two stores in Andhra Pradesh, in Vijayawada and Guntur.

Raj Jain, president, Walmart India and managing director and CEO, Bharti Walmart India, told reporters that they planned to open two more Best Price stores in Andhra Pradesh in the next six months

Each store comes up with an investment of Rs.35 crore to Rs.40 crore.

The company's investment in Andhra Pradesh has crossed USD 21 million (about Rs.120 crore).

Jain said there they would not slow down opening Best Price stores in view of their proposed foray into retail. "We will open 10 stores next year and another 10 stores in the coming year," he added.

The Best Price store is a one-stop business-to-business store that caters to restaurants, hotels, caterers, fruit and vegetable resellers, kirana (grocery) stores, offices and institutions.

The store stocks over 5,000 items including a wide range of fresh, frozen and chilled foods, fruits and vegetables, dry groceries, personal and home care items, hotel and restaurant supplies, apparel, office supplies and electronic goods.

The company, which has a customer base of six lakh in the country, has so far signed up 60,000 customers in Hyderabad. "It is the biggest customer drive we ever had in our history in India," he said.

"Andhra Pradesh is a large and prosperous state, with a large farming sector, both in terms of what comes out of land and from the sea. It is also a big consumer market and one of the fastest growing states in the country in last one or two decades," Jain said

The wholesale store caters to three big customers - kirana stores, institutions and hotels and restaurants and caterers.

He said the Best Price store in Hyderabad was the first store with a complete private range. There are 400 products available under this range.

The store offers products that are 15 to 30 percent cheaper than branded goods, without compromising on quality. "We can do this because we get the products right from the source and we have no expense on advertisement, sales and marketing," Jain said.

The company is working with 6,500 farmers in various states, procuring farm produce directly from them. It plans to accelerate the programme and increase the number of farmers to 35,000 in three years.