Bharti Wal-Mart, the joint venture between the American retailer and India's Bharti Enterprises, was scheduled to launch the store on Tuesday. But the programme was deferred following recent riots in Punjab to Sikh Guru attack incident in Vienna.
The store-Best Price Modern Wholesale-will be the first of between 10 to 15 planned wholesale facilities in India, measuring about 50,000-100,000 square feet each and employing about 5,000 people over the next seven years.
The entry of multinational retailers into India's fragmented and tightly controlled retail industry is mired in controversy and Wal-Mart's entry is seen as a sign of foreign investors' confidence in the country after ruling coalition was re-elected two weeks ago.
"The world is changing, in India the youth is coming in, they want better stores if you go and look at our store here today, which we have made a model 'Mera Kirana' you look at the store, it tells you a story. You will see with this cash and carry coming in, with the best price coming in, you will see once the people come in and start linking with us, they will see the change," said Rajan Bharti Mittal, Vice Chairman and Managing Director, Bharti Enterprises.
A big number of customers thronged the store on the first day itself.
Used to moving from one shop to another for their groceries and other requirements, the customers at the store were happy at finding all their needful things under one roof.
"Earlier we had to search through various shops for the things we wanted, but now here we are getting everything under one roof and the cost is also same, maybe less," said an unidentified customer.
India's retail industry, currently estimated at $500 billion, is seen rising to more than 800 billion dollars by 2013 but less than 5 percent of the market is in the hands of modern retailers. By Ravinder Singh Robin (ANI)