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Walmart to open 50 new stores in India in 4-5 years

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New Delhi: A day after announcing USD 16 billion investment in India’s largest online retailer Flipkart, Walmart Inc on Thursday said it will continue to grow its wholesale cash-and-carry business, adding 50 new stores in the next four-five years.

“We currently have 21 stores and plan to open 50 stores in 4 to 5 years. Plans are on track,” Walmart India President and CEO Krish Iyer said at a select media roundtable called to explain the Flipkart deal.

Walmart Chief Executive Doug McMillon said Flipkart, in which the US retailer is acquiring 77 per cent stake, would continue to operate as a separate board-managed company with co-founder Binny Bansal as the CEO.

 

Flipkart gives Walmart an online presence. So far it had been handicapped by India’s retail policy that does not allow overseas companies to sell directly to consumers (except in wholesale cash-and-carry segment).

Companies like Flipkart and Amazon operate as e-commerce marketplaces — a segment where 100 per cent foreign direct investment (FDI) is allowed.

“As we speak, we have a pipeline of 20 stores and we expect to open 5 stores in the current year and then pick up pace and eventually start opening 12-15 stores a year,” Iyer said.

For the cash-and-carry business, Walmart currently operates in 9 states and 19 cities and the future expansion is focused on more or less the same geographies.

“We are not spreading thin. We are continuing in same geographies but primarily focus is on Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Uttrakhand, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana,” he said.

At its 21 Best Price wholesale stores, Walmart sells everything from fast-moving consumer goods to furniture to other retailers and institutions. It could potentially use these Best Price stores as pickup and delivery points to service online sales made on Flipkart.

Analysts believe that Walmart’s investment in Flipkart, whose 34 per cent market share in India’s online sales is ahead of rival Amazon’s 27 per cent, will boost the Indian e-commerce company’s logistical operations and help it move into new areas such as online groceries.

Walmart is buying 77 per cent of Flipkart from existing shareholders, including Japan’s SoftBank, for USD 14 billion and investing USD 2 billion of fresh equity.

Walmart India is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Walmart Stores Inc and offers close to 5,000 items through its cash-and-carry wholesale format.


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India one of world’s fastest growing large economies:IMF

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Washington: India has been one of the fastest growing large economies in the world, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has said, asserting that the country has carried out several key reforms in the last five years, but more needs to be done.
Responding to a question on India’s economic development in the last five years at a fortnightly news conference here, IMF communications director Gerry Rice Thursday said, “India has of course been one of the world’s fastest growing large economies of late, with growth averaging about seven per cent over the past five years.”
“Important reforms have been implemented and we feel more reforms are needed to sustain this high growth, including to harness the demographic dividend opportunity, which India has,” he said.
Details about the Indian economy would be revealed in the upcoming World Economic Outlook (WEO) survey report to be released by the IMF ahead of the annual spring meeting with the World Bank next month, he said.
This report would be the first under Indian American economist Gita Gopinath, who is now IMF’s chief economist.
“The WEO will go into more details. But amongst the policy priorities, we would include accelerate the cleanup of banks and corporate balance sheets, continue fiscal consolidation, both at centre and state levels, and broadly maintain the reform momentum in terms of structural reforms in factor markets, labour, land reforms and further enhancing the business climate to achieve faster and more inclusive growth,” Rice said.

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Fitch cuts India GDP growth forecast for FY20 to 6.8 pc

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New Delhi: Fitch Ratings on Friday cut India’s economic growth forecast for the next financial year starting April 1, to 6.8 per cent from its previous estimate of 7 per cent, on weaker than expected momentum in the economy.
“While we have cut our growth forecasts for the next fiscal year (FY20, ending in March 2020) on weaker-than-expected momentum, we still see Indian GDP growth to hold up reasonably well, at 6.8 per cent, followed by 7.1 per cent in FY21,” Fitch said in its Global Economic Outlook. Fitch Ratings cut India’s FY19 GDP growth forecast to 7.2 per cent from 7.8 per cent on December 6.
The rating agency has also cut growth forecasts for FY20 and FY21 to 7 per cent from 7.3 per cent and 7.1 per cent from 7.3 per cent, respectively. According to Fitch, the RBI has adopted a more dovish monetary policy stance and cut interest rates by 0.25 percentage at its February 2019 meeting, a move supported by steadily decelerating headline inflation.
“We have changed our rate outlook and we now expect another 25 bp cut in 2019, amid protracted below target inflation and easier global monetary conditions than previously envisaged,” it said. “On the fiscal side, the budget for FY20 plans to increase cash transfers for farmers,” it added. Fitch said, it’s benign oil price outlook and expectations of accelerating food prices in the coming months should support rural households’ income and consumption.

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India’s total wireless subscribers grew to 1.18 bn in January 2019: TRAI

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New Delhi: India’s total wireless subscribers grew by 0.51 percent to 1,181.97 million (1.18 bn) in January 2019, as per a report by telecom regularor TRAI.
Total wireless subscribers (GSM, CDMA & LTE) increased from 1,176.00 million at the end of December 2018 to 1,181.97 million at the end of January 2019, thereby registering a monthly growth rate of 0.51 percent, the TRAI report said.
As on January 31, 2019, the private access service providers held 89.95 percent market share of the wireless subscribers whereas BSNL and MTNL, the two PSU access service providers, had a market share of only 10.05%, the regulator said in its report.
The Wireless subscription in urban areas increased from 647.52 million at the end of December 2018 to 654.20 million at the end of January 2019, however wireless subscriptions in rural areas declined from 528.48 million to 527.77 million during the month.
The monthly growth rates of urban wireless subscription was1.03 percent and rural wireless subscription was 0.13%, the report said
The Wireless Tele-density in India increased from 89.78 at the end of December 2018 to 90.15 at the end of January 2019.
The Urban Wireless Tele-density increased from 155.48 at the end of December 2018 to 156.85 at the end of January 2019, however Rural Wireless Tele-density declined from 59.15 to 59.04 during the same period.
The share of urban and rural wireless subscribers in total number of wireless subscribers was 55.35 percent and 44.65 percent respectively at the end of January 2019.

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