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Bharti Wal Mart: Marketing Case Study

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Marketing
Wordcount: 3162 words Published: 8th May 2017

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The Indian retail market, which is the fifth largest retail destination globally, has been ranked the second most attractive emerging market for investment after Vietnam in the retail sector by AT Kearney’s seventh annual Global Retail Development Index (GRDI), in 2008. The share of retail trade in the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) was between 8-10 per cent in 2007. It is currently around 12 per cent, and is likely to reach 22 per cent by 2010.

A McKinsey report ‘The rise of Indian Consumer Market’, estimates that the Indian consumer market is likely to grow four times by 2025. Commercial real estate services company, CB Richard Ellis’ findings state that India’s retail market is currently valued at US$ 511 billion. ( Source : Mckinsey Report 2005)

Banks, capital goods, engineering, fast moving consumer goods (FMCG), software services, oil marketing, power, two-wheelers and telecom companies are leading the sales and profit growth of India Inc in the fourth quarter of 2008-09. India continues to be among the most attractive countries for global retailers. At US$ 511 billion in 2008, its retail market is larger than ever and drawing both global and local retailers. Foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows as on January 2009, in single-brand retail trading, stood at approx. US$ 25.18 million, according to the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP).

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India’s overall retail sector is expected to rise to US$ 833 billion by 2013 and to US$ 1.3 trillion by 2018, at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10 per cent. As a democratic country with high growth rates, consumer spending has risen sharply as the youth population (more than 33 percent of the country is below the age of 15) has seen a significant increase in its disposable income. Consumer spending rose an impressive 75 per cent in the past four years alone. Also, organised retail, which accounts for almost 5 per cent of the market, is expected to grow at a CAGR of 40 per cent from US$ 20 billion in 2007 to US$ 107 billion by 2013.

India has emerged the third most attractive market destination for apparel retailers, according to a new study by global management consulting firm AT Kearney. It further says that in India, apparel is the second largest retail category, representing 10 per cent of the US$ 37 billion retail market. It is expected to grow 12-15 per cent per year. Apparel, along with food and grocery, will lead the organised retailing in India. India has one of the largest numbers of retail outlets in the world. A report by Images Retail estimates the number of operational malls to grow more than two-fold, to cross 412, with 205 million square feet by 2010, and a further 715 malls to be added by 2015, with major retail developments even in tier-II and tier-III cities in India.

Marks & Spencer Reliance India is planning to open 35 more stores over the next five years, according to Mark Ashman, CEO of the company. The 51:49 joint venture between UK’s Marks and Spencer and Reliance Retail Ltd already has 15 stores in India.

Future Group has been restructured to test the new rules on FDI under Press Notes 2, 3 and 4 issued in February 2009. The company plans to bring in up to US$ 148.7 million in foreign investment. Although FDI is permitted only in single-brand retail and not permitted in multi-brand retail businesses like Future Group’s, the conglomerate has created two layers of operations to take advantage of the three Press Notes that allow FDI up to 49 per cent in operating-cum-investment companies as long as they are owned and controlled by Indians.

Carrefour SA, Europe’s largest retailer, may start wholesale operations in India by 2010 and plans to set up its first cash-and-carry outlet in the National Capital Region. Currently, Carrefour exports goods worth US$ 170 million from India to Europe, UAE, Indonesia, Europe, Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia.

Jewellery manufacturer and retailer, Gitanjali Group and MMTC are jointly setting up a chain of exclusive retail outlets called Shuddi-Sampurna Vishwas. The joint venture, which plans to open around 60 stores across India by end of this year, will retail hallmarked gold and diamond jewellery.

Mahindra Retail, a part of the US$ 6.7-billion Mahindra Group, plans to invest US$ 19.8 million by 2010 to step up its specialty retail concept ‘Mom and Me’.

Policy Initiatives

100 per cent FDI is allowed in cash-and-carry wholesale formats. Franchisee arrangements are also permitted in retail trade. 51 per cent FDI is allowed in single-brand retailing.

Road Ahead

According to industry experts, the next phase of growth is expected to come from rural markets, with rural India accounting for almost half of the domestic retail market, valued over US$ 300 billion. Rural India is set to witness an economic boom, with per capita income having grown by 50 per cent over the last 10 years, mainly on account of rising commodity prices and improved productivity.

According to retail and consumer products division, E&Y India, basic infrastructure, generation of employment guarantee schemes, better information services and access to funding are also bringing prosperity to rural households. The rural market, product design will need to go beyond ideas like smaller sizes (such as single use sachets) to create genuinely new products, according to Ramesh Srinivas, national industry director (consumer markets), KPMG India.

According to the Investment commission of India, the overall retail market is expected to grow from US$ 262 billion to about US$ 1065 billion by 2016, with organised retail at US$ 165 billion (approximately 15.5 per cent of total retail sales). India is expected to be among the top 5 retail markets in the world in 10 years.

According to new market research report by RNCOS titled, “Booming Retail Sector in India”, organised retail market in India is expected to reach US$ 50 billion by 2011.

Number of shopping malls is expected to increase at a CAGR of more than 18.9 per cent from 2007 to 2015.

Rural market is projected to dominate the retail industry landscape in India by 2012 with total market share of above 50 per cent.

Organised retailing of mobile handset and accessories is expected to reach close to US$ 990 million by 2010.

Driven by the expanding retail market, third party logistic market is forecasted to reach US$ 20 billion by 2011.

Bharti Wal-Mart Private Limited, a joint venture for wholesale cash-and-carry and back-end supply chain management operations in India, in line with Government of India guidelines. Under the agreement, Bharti and Wal-Mart will hold a 50:50 stake in Bharti Wal-Mart Private Limited. ( Source http://www.bharti.com/ourcompanies.html)

Wholesale cash-and-carry operations provide small retailers and business owners a wide range of quality products at competitive wholesale prices that help them enhance their businesses and profitability. The Bharti Wal-Mart business-to-business (B2B) wholesale cash-and-carry joint venture will serve kirana stores, fruit and vegetable resellers, restaurants and other business owners. It also will serve other retailers such as Bharti Retail, which is setting up a chain of stores in India that are 100 percent owned and operated by Bharti.

The wholesale cash-and-carry venture will invest in setting up an efficient supply chain. This will link farmers and small manufacturers directly to retailers, thereby maximizing value for farmers and manufacturers on the one end and retailers, and in turn, consumers on the other. The venture will support farmers and small manufacturers who have limited infrastructure and distribution strength, and the supply chain will enable minimum wastage, particularly of fresh foods and vegetables.

The first wholesale cash-and-carry facility is targeted to open by the end of next year. Over the next seven years, the venture is expected to open 10 to 15 wholesale cash-and-carry facilities and employ approximately 5,000. A typical facility will stand between 50,000 and 100,000 square feet and sell a wide range of fruits and vegetables, groceries and staples, stationery, footwear, clothing, consumer durables and other general merchandise items.

Bharti Wal-Mart Private Limited will bring modern supply chain and back-end logistics expertise to India, bringing Wal-Mart’s global best practices in such areas as just-in-time inventory, retail information systems, cold chain infrastructure, GPS for truck and trailer tracking, and fuel management systems. In addition, Bharti Enterprises’ 100% subsidiary Bharti Retail, that will own and manage the retail stores, has entered into a franchise agreement with Wal-Mart which will provide technical support to Bharti Retail

Bharti Enterprises is one of India’s leading business groups with interests in telecom, agribusiness, insurance and retail. Bharti has been a pioneering force in the telecom sector with many firsts and innovations to its credit. Bharti Airtel Limited, a group company, is one of India’s leading private sector providers of telecommunications services with an aggregate of 44.67 million customers as of end of June 2007 spanning mobile, fixed line, broadband and enterprise services. Bharti Airtel was recently ranked amongst the best performing companies in the world in the BusinessWeek IT 100 list 2007. Bharti Teletech is the country’s largest manufacturer and exporter of telephone terminals.

About Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. operates Wal-Mart discount stores, Supercenters, Neighborhood Markets and Sam’s Club locations in the United States. The Company operates in Argentina, Brazil, Canada, China, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Japan, Mexico, Nicaragua, Puerto Rico and the United Kingdom.

Many analysts opined that both the parties in the venture had their own strengths and would complement each other. Viswanathan Vasudevan, an equity analyst at the Singapore-based Aquarius Investment Advisors Pte, said, “It’s a great fit for Wal-Mart as Bharti knows the rules of the game and will save Wal-Mart a lot of time and energy to overcome the system.

For Bharti, you can’t get a better partner than Wal-Mart in retail.” Gajendra Nagpal, director, Unicorn Investments, said, “This joint venture is a winning combination. Wal-Mart’s logistics skill and Bharti’s execution capability will create a potent force in the Indian market.”

This franchise strategy with Bharti was a deviation from Wal-Mart’s usual way of entering countries. This was because the policy restrictions on foreign direct investment (FDI) in the Indian retail sector. As part of the agreement, Bharti was expected to pay a royalty between 2 percent and 3 percent of sales to Wal-Mart for using the latter’s brand name. The Bharti-Wal-Mart joint venture was expected to open its stores in India from August 2007.

Though the parties did not disclose the financials of the deal, according to retail industry sources, the Bharti-Wal-Mart venture would make an initial investment of US$ 100 million, which could further increase to US$ 1.46 billion. Wal-Mart had reportedly brought in two veteran executives, Andy Guttery and Lance Rettig, to implement its operations in India under the joint venture. Wal-Mart had also roped in Raj Jain, Emerging markets president & CEO, Wal-Mart, to head the cash-and-carry business in India.

The retail industry in India is estimated at about US$ 300 billion and is expected to grow to US$ 427 billion in 2010 and US$ 637 billion in 2015. Moreover, only 3 percent of the Indian retail industry was in the organized sector. Foreign retailers were keen to enter India’s rapidly growing retail market. However, the government had permitted retailers of single brand products to own a majority stake in a joint venture with a local partner (with prior government permission). Retailers of multi-brands were only permitted to operate through franchises and licencees, or a cash-and-carry wholesale model.

The biggest competitor for Bharti-Wal-Mart is expected to be Reliance Retail, the retail wing of Reliance, which had planned to establish 10,000 stores by 2010. It had already opened 11 pilot stores under the “Reliance Fresh” format in Hyderabad.

A few other Indian retailers felt that the entry of foreign retail giants like Wal-Mart, Carrefour SA and Tesco Plc (Tesco) would result in Indian retailers learning some of the best international practices in retailing. However, analysts noted that the success of the joint venture would depend on how successful Wal-Mart is in building a cost efficient supply chain and sourcing network so that the cost savings are passed on the end consumer through its trademark “every day low price” strategy.

Strategic Analysis of the Bharti Walmart Joint venture:

This deal was examined through the lens of SWOT, PEST and Porters 5 forces. In addition this researcher interviewed various managers at Bharti and incorporated those in this interview.

SWOT Analysis


Bharti is a well known name to the Indian consumer. Organized retail is growing rapidly in India. Wal-mart already is best known for global best practices in retailing. So all the elements of success are essentially in place; Bharti also has strong experience with retailing to a large number of customers both in rural and urban areas. Due to it’s Pan India presence Bharti can replicate the efficiencies of scale which Wal-Mart is known for. Wal-Mart while being a tremendous success in U.S has a mixed track record outside of the U.S. in direct entry. A joint venture like this helps this combined entity to focus on the strengths of each partner.


The Indian retail industry is still mostly unorganized and is widely fragmented. The supply chain in India is handicapped by creaking infrastructure. The Government has severe restrictions on retail which can impact this Joint Venture.


The opportunities here are tremendous as the Indian retail market has the potential to be the worlds largest organized retail market. This market is now largely in the organized sector. Walmart has the best practices of a globally successful retailer. These best practices have the potential of changing the face of Indian reatil.


There are numerous threats facing this joint venture. While many political parties see it as a backdoor entry for Wal-Mart, others see it as threat to traditional Indian retailing. The entry of other retailers at-least the Indian kind is a reality. The infrastructure will continue to put pressure on already low margins.

Porter’s five forces

Threats of new entrants

The new entrants who are looking to enter or who have already entered the Indian retail market such as Reliance or Big Bazaar are rapidly expanding While the market is sufficiently large the advantage of first mover success cannot be discounted.


Reliance Fresh

Big Bazaar

Tata Star Bazaar.

Power of buyers

Retail traditionally has very low margins in India. For organized retail to succeed in India it must compete with the traditional kirana stores and other form of street vendors. While it certainly has an advantage with its ability to do volume purchases, the pressure on margins is always there. The Indian customer is usually loyal to the lowest price and not necessarily to a brand name and that makes it important that the JV always remain competitive on the price point.

Power of suppliers

It is not the suppliers as much at the supply chain network which is a cause for concern here. The infrastructure is very bad in certain parts of the country. Bad roads can delay transport.. Cold storage is not available in all areas which often results in produce being spoiled.

The threats of substitute

The threat of substitute is not very high. As people have to eventually shop at some place for their groceries and items which they would use in their daily life. There is a possibility of substituting brand name items with generic items if the price points do not match.

PEST analysis

Political – The Political situation is a cauldron of controversies, where there is no clear national consensus on organized retail. While many feel that it would benefit retail overall others feel that it would drive out the small retailer. Many have even stronger feelings for entry of international retailers into India. And many feel that this is a backdoor entry of the worlds largest retail store chain into India which still has strict FDI limits in the retail sector.

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Economical and Ecological: There are likely to be a lot of economic and ecological effects of this joint venture. The benefits of various vendors would certainly be positive. In addition there would be a positive impact on infrastructure as there would be a requirement of good roads, Warehouse facilities, ports , this would come up with either investment of the Joint Venture or other combination of Private or public partnership.

Social – There would be a strong impact on the social fabric of the nation as the farm sector which supports a large portion of the population would be affected. There would be an impact on the small retailer, and if the impact is even temporarily negative it may have a severe social consequences. Many retail stores have seen strikes and protests in India due to the perceived view that it drives out small retailers.

Technology – The impact of technology will certainly be felt in the Joint venture. The best practices globally technologically will enter India through this joint venture. The impact can be unpredictable. The technology in most western countries is often used to reduce manpower. In India, that often is not necessarily the most desirable or viable approach. However in an Interview with Bharti managers many felt that some of the latest technological trends in retail like RFID etc will impact this JV positively.


The fate of this JVis not written in stone; Though having two very strong patners and having the playground of the one of the worlds fastest growing economy and the potential of becoming the worlds largest organized retail sector. Political uncertainty and infrastructural issues can create an uncertainty which may need to be handled by this joint venture.



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