Mumbai, Sep 11: Although the Government of India's policy stance on foreign direct investment (FDI) in retail sector is not yet clear, but the World's largest retail major Wal-Mart is aggressively expanding its network in highly unorganized retail space of India.
Amid ongoing hot debate over the socio-economic impact of foreign-owned retail maga-outlets, Wal-Mart spokesperson announced Monday that it will add 3-5 stores by end of this year.
Wal-Mart, which is in a cash and carry joint venture with telcom czar Sunil Bhart Mittal owned Bharti Enterprises currently, operates 17 wholesale stores across India.
Under current policy, foreign retail majors are not allowed to set up shops in the country and tap the over $450 billion retail market.
Although UPA government showed its half hearted intention to allow 51% FDI is multi-brand retail chains, but strong opposition from its own coalition partners forced the government to abandon the plan seeking nationwide consensus.
As under current provisions, foreign players are allowed to operate wholesale stores, Wal-Mart formed cash and carry JV with Bharti, which had no exposure to retail industry.
Going by the Wal-Mart's plan to increase employee base at its unit, @WalmartLabs, in Bangalore it could be easily guessed that retail major is quite upbeat about the relatively untapped $450 billion market.
Jermey King, Chief technical Officer of Global e-Commerce, Walmart.com, told reporters that it will increase head count from current 125 to 200 by year end.
As Industry minister is on job to draw consensus on much hyped issue, it is likely that UPA government will try to push the 51% FDI in retail before March next year.
As policy paralysis and exposure of series of multi-billion dented the investor sentiment, Finance Minister P Chidambaram is expected to act fast on the issue and send booster message to investors through FDI in retail issue.