Bentonville: American retail giant Walmart is not keen on opening direct-to-consumer physical stores in India, but will focus on growing its acquisitions – online marketplace Flipkart and payments major PhonePe, a top official said on Friday.
It can be noted that the company acquired Flipkart and PhonePe in a USD 16 billion deal a few years back.
“We’ve got an omnichannel strategy that includes both of those components. And when you have both components, the customer experience can be more seamless, and there are advantages to being able to go to a store if you wanted to. But, we’re not focused on that at the moment.
“What we’re focused on is supporting Flipkart and PhonePe to be successful,” Walmart chief executive Doug McMillon said at the Global Business Summit.
The retailer is focused on ensuring that it is seen as a “good partner” for the country and has attempted to demonstrate its culture to the government.
Ultimately, the focus of the leaders is also to strengthen the country and his company would like to contribute towards the same goal, McMillon said.
He expressed satisfaction with the way the Flipkart investment has turned out for Walmart.
To a question on the company’s plan to take Flipkart public, McMillion said an initial public offering (IPO) will be the ultimate aim, but declined to specify the timeline or other details.
“from the beginning, have felt like an IPO would be an appropriate step at some point. But, we want to build a really strong foundation. And we want the team to make that decision about when they’re ready,” he said.
Strategic decisions like an IPO will be taken by the local leadership of Flipkart and PhonePe, he said, adding that Walmart feels its job is to provide the financial resources for the businesses.
Meanwhile, Brookfield Asset Management chief executive Bruce Flatt, who spoke at the same event, said commercial real estate seems to be looking at better days ahead as staff at corporates are returning to work.
He conceded that its Rs 25,000-crore deal on the telecom towers front took longer than expected.
Flatt, however, added that is the nature of large transactions and made it clear that India is not the only place where such delays happen.
He said events like the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine cause uncertainty in the markets and make people cautious, but expressed hope that we will get through it.
“Whether it’s a pandemic, a war, economic collapse, recession, or you name it, but we get through, and we always do. And yes, there’ll be some consternation along the way, with this like you’re happening and with Ukraine, but in the fullness of time, I think will work but we’ll all work through it,” he said.
India is an incredibly attractive place to invest in and the company, which manages over USD 650 billion globally, has been lucky with its bets in the country till now, he noted.
It is sitting on a liquidity corpus of USD 100 billion right now and typically, none of its funds will invest less than 20 per cent of its investible money in India.