Walmart Sets Up Its India’s First “Dark Store” In Bhiwandi, Maharashtra
India has just jumped by 50 points on the World Bank report for ease of business rankings, and on that grounds, huge number of foreign investors are expected to enter the Indian market. Walmart, one of the widest retail chains of the hypermarket, grocery and departmental stores, has entered the Indian shores by opening a fulfillment center or “dark store”. This will be the first store of Walmart introduced to accelerate the operation in India.
The retail giant has built its 45,000 square feet facility at Bhiwandi that is located nearby to Mumbai with an objective to serve the B2B businesses and grocery stores through orders placed online and probably keep the inventory of home supplies and packaged FMCG products.
Krish Iyer, CEO at Walmart India stated that Metro cities are the most lucrative markets for consumers, but the most challenging task is the availability of huge real estate at evenhanded cost. He also said that the company’s majority of the sale is generated through its 20-odd big-box formats driven by sales staff and online ordering.
The company launched its Best Price Modern Wholesale stores for the members three years back, but the services were limited to some cities with stores. Walmart India now intends to start an e-commerce platform with exclusion to a physical store.
The concept was originated about a year back and the pilot test was introduced in Lucknow. Iyer stated that delivery time and last-mile delivery are some of the major challenges. “We have committed the delivery within 24 Hours to our potential customers,” he added.
Coming onto the rival Amazon’s action plan, it has opened the biggest fulfillment facility in Hyderabad outskirts recently a month ago, which increased the mark of warehouses and centers to 45.
Merely about 4 years back, Walmart decided to purchase 50% stake in Bharti of its wholesale business that runs Best Price Modern Wholesale stores and franchise to around 200 retail stores. Thus after the joint venture got dissolved, the retail giant now trades only with grocery stores, traders, and organizations.
The expansion of Walmart store that was on a hold for years, will regain its momentum again. The company now intends to open more 5–7 stores by preceding year and add on 8–10 such store in following year.
Although on a lower base, the Rs 6,800 valued market has been rapidly growing at the rate of 13%, which is way ahead than that of modern trade.