Walmart prepares for 'Open Call' event in India as it aims for $10 billion annual export goal by 2027

08 Nov 2023

Walmart prepares for 'Open Call' event in India as it aims for $10 billion annual export goal by 2027

Retail giant Walmart is seizing the India-first opportunity in the global sourcing landscape as it prepares to host a groundbreaking mega sellers' summit in New Delhi on February 14 and 15, 2023. This marks the first-ever India outing for Walmart's flagship summit and the second time it's been held outside of the United States. Traditionally an annual event in America for about a decade, the sellers' summit made a departure from the norm when it took place in Mexico last April.

Andrea Albright, Executive Vice President of Sourcing at Walmart, disclosed that the India summit would be "much broader in scale" compared to previous summits held in the US and Mexico. This two-day event, commencing on Valentine's Day, will bring together Indian companies and approximately 50–60 Walmart merchants from the US. The summit will feature Walmart's "Open Call," allowing global buyers to evaluate products presented by Indian sellers and entrepreneurs for export. The event will provide real-time deals and packages, fostering a win-win sourcing partnership with India.

Sourcing, a crucial component of Walmart's India business, was highlighted by Walmart CEO Doug McMillon in an interview earlier this year. Walmart's Growth Summit is seen as a pivotal step towards achieving the company's goal of sourcing products worth $10 billion annually from India by 2027. While Albright didn't disclose the current sourcing figures, she affirmed, "We are on track to achieve the target."

Market estimates suggest that Walmart's current annual sourcing from India stands at around $3 billion. To meet its ambitious $10 billion target by 2027, this figure will need to triple in the next four years. Andrea Albright underscored the significance of India sourcing, emphasizing that, besides the US, India is the only market where Walmart has publicly committed to exports. She expressed confidence in Walmart's ability to meet the goal by 2027, citing India as one of the chain's top-priority markets, considering its current volume and future potential.

Regarding the destinations where India-sourced products are most popular, Albright stated that the US is Walmart's largest market for Indian exports. The product categories for sourcing cover a wide range, from toys to bicycles, food to health and wellness, general merchandise, apparel, and home textiles. Albright added, "We are starting to explore electronics and shoes as additional categories as well."

In a strategic move to align with Walmart, an increasing number of Indian sellers are establishing offices close to Walmart's Bentonville headquarters in Arkansas. Companies like Mrs. Bector's Food Specialties, Welspun, Trident Group, and FishinCo have set up offices in Bentonville.

It's essential to note that Walmart's sourcing business operates independently from its subsidiaries, Flipkart and PhonePe, despite Walmart's majority stake acquisition in Flipkart in 2018.

When asked how Walmart plans to achieve its $10 billion annual sourcing target by 2027, Andrea Albright emphasized the remarkable category expansion over the last 15 years and the significant growth in transportation and the supply chain. She praised the ingenuity, resilience, and education of India's labor force as a strategic advantage for the company. To meet its export targets, Walmart is actively collaborating with key stakeholders to eliminate barriers that may exist for certain industries.

Walmart's foray into India's sourcing landscape represents a significant step forward in its global business strategy and underscores the growing importance of India as a sourcing destination. The inaugural India summit is poised to open new doors for Indian businesses and further strengthen the partnership between Walmart and Indian suppliers.

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