Walmart to intensify sourcing from India

The world’s largest retailer is looking at developing India as a major export hub

The world’s largest retailer, Walmart, today said that its sourcing from India could increase to ‘hundreds of millions’ of dollars within the next four-five years, making the country an export hub for its global operations, reports PTI.

The Bentonville (Arkansas)-based company already has a major sourcing business in India, including goods worth $125 million a year from Punjab alone, comprising mainly of cotton.

“In (the) next 12 months we could talk about exports (from India) worth tens of millions of dollars, maybe hundreds of millions (of dollars) in the next four-five years,” Walmart Asia president and CEO Scott Price told reporters.

He said that Walmart’s global sourcing division has been restructured and the retailer has decided to focus on India in a big way.

“I had a talk with (the sourcing) head and both of us agreed that India has an immense potential,” he said, adding that the firm saw India as a “mega-hub” for worldwide sourcing.

Indian products can be exported to other Asian countries, Europe and even the US, he added.

When asked about the products the company said it is keen to source from India, Mr Price said the number of items could increase as the country has an “immense variety” to offer but a final decision had not been taken.

Walmart, which is present in India under a 50:50 joint venture with Bharti Enterprises in the wholesale cash-and-carry segment, also called for a relaxation in the country’s retail foreign direct investment (FDI) norms.

“The government is itself identifying areas where improvement is required. FDI in retail has to open (up) further although it could be in stages,” Mr Price said, adding that the company is satisfied with its JV with Bharti.

Meanwhile, the JV—Bharti Walmart Pvt Ltd—today opened its second Indian store. The first outlet in Amritsar had been inaugurated in May last year.

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    Rin: White money

    This detergent is trying to tide over its competition with a bizarre commercial

    Clearly, Rin’s declining market share has been giving Lever brand managers a few sleepless nights. And going by their ads, Rin’s key threat seems to be P&G’s Tide. Earlier this year, they released a commercial on the Holi weekend which targeted Tide more than directly. They grandly claimed Rin washes whiter than Tide and didn’t bother to conceal the latter’s identity. Quite expectedly, the advert landed in the courtroom, and a stay order was passed on Rin’s mischievous ways.
    So one assumed that the matter ended there, and it was now back to business as usual. But makers of Rin have indicated the controversial ad was only the first salvo fired as a part of their newly-found aggression. Now they have decided to literally put some big bucks where their mouth is. The new Rin commercial offers consumers one crore rupees in case their shirts don’t wash the whitest shade with Rin.
    The TV commercial features actor Kajol announcing the offer to two housewives who disembark from a helicopter. (What’s with the chopper, what has that got to do with safedi??) And even more funnily, the two ladies fish out their buckets and begin washing their dirty linen right inside the airport’s glitzy arrival lounge! (What’s going on? I know some folks treat airport lounges as their bedrooms, but didn’t know they are also used as bathrooms!) ‘Rin Safedi ki Challenge’ is the exercise. Feisty Kajol promises a crore of rupees in prize money to anyone who can prove that the rival detergent delivers better safedi than Rin. Of course, singed by the court’s ruling, this time the advertiser has ensured the rival’s brand name remains hidden. However, they have retained the earlier two models, hoping that the housewives will induce a tidal wave of recall for Rin. Wishful thinking, that. All housewives in Indian TV ads, thanks to the mad stereotyping, look and act the same! So that ploy ain’t gonna cut.
    What could possibly work is the chance for housewives to win bucketsful of easy money through washing clothes. But hang on, there’s a minor problem out here. No, Hindustan Unilever isn’t going to be flying out millions of eager housewives aboard luxury choppers to an exotic dhobi ghat in Mauritius to stage the competition. Kajol makes it clear they will come to your city/town/village, so you will have to wait for that unidentified flying object to arrive. Obviously all this is marketing balderdash. Rin is looking for some quick publicity for its brand. And if the courts won’t give them the space, choppers, Kajol and financial temptation will have to do.
    Over to Tide.

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