Friday, January 22, 2010

Bharti Wal-Mart Sets Up Farm Produce Sourcing Centre

Bharti Wal-Mart Pvt. Ltd. said Wednesday it has set up its first centre in the northern Indian state of Punjab to source farm produce for its wholesale cash-and-carry business as well as for the retail stores under the 'Easyday' brand.

Bharti Wal-Mart is a joint venture between the world's largest retailer by revenue, Wal-Mart Stores Inc., and India's Bharti Enterprises Ltd., which is the parent company of the country's largest telecommunications company by users, Bharti Airtel Ltd.

The joint venture currently operates a single wholesale store in Punjab.

The agricultural co-operative centre aims to create "a robust aggregating, handling, packaging and delivering system of fresh produce," to the wholesale store that operates under the name Best Price, as well as the 'Easyday' stores, Bharti Wal-Mart said in an e-mailed statement.

The chain of retail stores in India, under the "Easyday" brand, is run by Bharti Retail, another unit of Bharti Enterprises.

Indian laws don't allow multiple-brand retailers, such as U.S.-based Wal-Mart, to sell directly to consumers. But they can run wholesale operations and provide back-end support to local retailers.

The centre will "directly link farmers to consumers, providing them access to quality produce at low prices," said Raj Jain, managing director and chief executive at Bharti Wal-Mart.

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