INDIA – Walmart India has opened its second fulfilment store in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh with a goal to expand its wholesale presence in India, according to an article in the Economic Times.

The centre aims to speed up operations and directly deliver grocery and general merchandise to Walmart’s registered members of kiranas, hotels and other businesses through e-commerce and other channels.

With this, Walmart is seeking to expand its footprint in India barely a few years after it shifted its focus on the compliance of an US anti-bribery laws that prompted it to freeze its India expansion of its Best Price branded cash-and-carry stores between 2011 and late 2017.

Now the retailer has lined up plans to roll out more Best Price branded cash-and-carry stores especially in the Northern part of India.

Lucknow store is first fulfilment centre in the Uttar Pradesh state but second in India.

Last year, it opened its first fulfilment centre in Mumbai, a new format of its cash-and-carry store model that focuses exclusively on FMCG products and staples.

Krish Iyer, chief executive of Walmart India said they will open one more of such fulfilment centre and study it before expanding them.

India is one of the markets that are catching the eye of the American giant retailer that it has offered to acquire 77% stake in the country’s largest e-commerce firm Flipkart for US$16 billion, though the deal is yet to fully complete.

The acquisition places it at a better competitive edge against the US rival Amazon that has already a significant foothold in India.

Krish revealed that Walmart plans to open 50 wholesale stores in coming years and 22 of such cash-and-carry stores are in various stages of getting government approvals or are in construction stages.

Last year, it signed a memorandum of understanding with Uttar Pradesh government to open 15 big-box wholesale outlets in the state in the next five to seven years.