NEW DELHI: Walmart said it has laid off 56 of its India executives as it restructures business in the country. Krish Iyer, president and CEO of Walmart’s India unit, said the fired executives included eight from senior management officials, according to news agency Reuters. The development comes 18 months after the world’s largest retailer completed the acquisition of Flipkart to become the largest shareholder in the Indian e-commerce firm in a $16-billion deal.
Mr Iyer said that a press report of a second round of layoffs in April was baseless, Reuters reported citing an emailed statement.
Earlier, Reuters had reported citing sources that Walmart had fired around 50 of its India executives as part of its restructuring plan in the country.
The layoff of India workforce comes at a time when the US-based retail major has faced fierce competition in the country’s retail market, where tight regulations are aimed at protecting local kirana stores from foreign competition.
US-based e-commerce giant Amazon and the retail arm of billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries are eyeing the huge opportunity in the country’s retail market. Reliance Retail has announced plans to roll out its e-commerce venture.
The layoffs at Walmart’s India operations are due to a greater incorporation of technology into its local operations and a bigger focus on integrating e-commerce with its brick-and-mortar wholesale business, quoting people familiar with the matter.
Walmart “remains committed” to growing in India and keeps looking for ways to operate more effectively, the company said in an emailed statement on Monday, according to Bloomberg. “This requires us to review our corporate structure.”
Prevented from selling directly to consumers, US-based Walmart has focused on building a wholesale business that supplies to local store-owners.