Walmart India, which opened its first store in the northern city of Amritsar back in 2009, and currently operates over 25 wholesale stores within the country, laid off 56 staff members, including eight from the senior management level and 48 from the mid and lower levels on Monday.
“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. As part of this review, we have let go of 56 of our associates across levels at the corporate office,” said Krish Iyer, CEO and President of Walmart India.
According to Iyer, all the impacted ex-staff members from Walmart India have been offered outplacement services and enhanced severance benefits.
In May 2018, after 19 months of negotiations, Walmart which claimed to have witnessed 22 per cent sales growth in 2019, managed to finalise a $16 billion deal with India’s homegrown e-commerce platform Flipkart.
Flipkart owns nearly 39 per cent of the total e-commerce market share in India and is expected to gather over $14.9 billion in online sales by 2023 in the country’s flourishing online marketplace predicted to have a worth over $65 billion within three years.
Following Flipkart’s acquisition, Walmart faced strong opposition from local vendors in India.
In July 2018, the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) — representing over 70 million traders and shopkeepers carried out nationwide protests against the Flipkart-Walmart deal fearing that the acquisition would create a monopoly on the retail market in India, and push mom-and-pop stores out of business.
At the time, Walmart responded to the opposition by reiterating that it would continue to support local manufacturers in India by sourcing products from small and medium suppliers, as well as from farms and businesses run by women.
The layoff by Walmart also coincides with a visit by Jeff Bezos, CEO of its arch-rival Amazon, to India.
Both US-based, Walmart and Amazon are known for their rivalry in the business world. Currently, Amazon India is the top e-commerce platform in the country, with a massive population of 1.37 billion.