Walmart sacks 56 executives in India as part of restructuring

Reuters New Delhi, India Jan 13, 2020, 11.20 AM(IST)

A man pushes shopping trolleys at a Walmart India's Best Price Modern Wholesale store in Jammu Photograph:( Reuters )

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The move underscores the struggles Walmart has faced in expanding its wholesale business in India.

Walmart Inc, the world's largest retailer, has fired 56 of its India executives as part of its restructuring in the country, three sources with direct knowledge told Reuters.

The move underscores the struggles Walmart has faced in expanding its wholesale business in India.

Reuters reported the firings earlier on Monday, citing three people with direct knowledge of the matter, adding the move had mostly affected executives in Walmart's real estate division, which takes care of store expansion, as the wholesale business model did not bring in expected growth.

Eight of the 56 executives fired were in "senior management" roles and the rest from middle or lower management, Krish Iyer, President and CEO of Walmart India said in a statement.

"We are also looking for ways to operate more efficiently, which requires us to review our corporate structure to ensure that we are organised in the right way," Iyer said, adding the fired executives had been offered enhanced severance benefits.

Also read: India's e-commerce rules regressive, potential to hurt trade ties: Walmart told US government

The Bentonville, Arkansas based company currently operates 28 wholesale stores where it sells goods to small shopkeepers, and not to retail consumers.

The firings mostly affected executives in the company's real estate division because the growth in the wholesale model has not been that robust, two of the sources said.

"It's happening because the focus is shifting to e-commerce rather than physical (stores)," said one source, who declined to be identified as the decision is not public.

Walmart has placed bold bets on India's e-commerce sector.

In 2018, it paid $16 billion to acquire a majority stake in India's online marketplace Flipkart, in its biggest global acquisition.

The second source added that while Walmart could slow down the pace of opening new wholesale stores, the focus will increasingly be on boosting sales through business-to-business and retail e-commerce.

Some of the executives were sacked last week and more could be let go on Monday, two sources said.

Walmart has around 600 staff in its India head office out of a total of around 5,300 nationally, one of the sources said.