Walmart (NYSE:WMT) has begun selling products online in India from two of its wholesale stores.
Shoppers in India will only be able to use the e-commerce site if they are registered members of its wholesale, cash-and-carry stores in the cities of Hyderabad (southern India) and Lucknow (northern India), as reported in The Wall Street Journal.
Products ordered through the online service will reach customers' stores across the country within 24 hours.
The first cash-and-carry store was set up in India back in 2009, and there are now 20 in total. Walmart has been unable to open direct-to-consumer stores because of India's restrictions on foreign investments in multibrand retail.
Walmart is looking to expand its reach into the Indian market, despite international hurdles. Earlier this month, Walmart opened a B2B e-commerce portal in India, offering a website exclusively for members of its cash-and-carry stores and supporting small businesses there. And earlier this year, Walmart announced it would open 50 cash-and-carry stores in the next five years.
Originally Walmart partnered with Bharti Enterprises in India to help reach the foreign market. But last year the retailer spent $334 million to sever ties and end the 6-year venture. The transaction left Walmart to operate wholesale stores independently but resulted in a net loss of $151 million, according to the company's annual report.
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