The world's largest retailer says a proposed joint venture with an Indian partner to open a string of mega supermarkets in India is "not tenable" and both sides are looking for the best way forward, Reuters reports.
Wal-Mart was expected to make a decision on its Indian retail plans with India's Bharti Enterprises later this month.
"We created a franchise in retail with Bharti in the hopes that there could be a potential freeing up (of foreign direct investment) that would allow it to potentially be the base of the business. But frankly, the FDI has passed," Wal-Mart Asia Chief Executive Scott Price told Reuters.
"That means the existing franchise to Bharti is not tenable as the base. What we are talking about with Bharti is what we do with that business."
Wal-Mart has an equal joint venture with Bharti under which it runs its Best Price Modern Wholesale Stores in India and the U.S. retailer last year called Bharti its "natural partner" to open its retail stores in the country.
In July, Reuters reported Bharti was looking to exit its joint venture with Wal-Mart.
India permitted foreign retailers to own 51 percent of their Indian operations in September 2012, but ambiguity around rules governing the policy has ensured no foreign retailer has so far applied to enter the country.
"I don't see how any foreign retailer can comply and quite honestly no domestic retailer is complying either," Price said.
The biggest stumbling block for companies has been the government's requirement that 30 percent of their products be sourced locally.
Despite the uncertainty over the retail business, Price said the world's largest retailer was not planning on leaving India and was actually hoping to expand its wholesale business.
"We are committed to India and we are not thinking of leaving India anytime soon," he said.BLOG COMMENTS POWERED BY DISQUS