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Walmart eyes joint venture with Tata Group for offline retail

India seems to be becoming the battleground for international retail giants Amazon and Walmart. The world’s biggest e-commerce company is locking horns with the brick and mortar store leader Walmart to capture market share in the Indian market.

In another development in the ongoing tussle, Walmart might be pursuing the Tata Group for a strategic alliance in the country to ward off Amazon’s advances in Indian offline retail space. The US-based company was previously in talks with Cyrus Mistry when he led the Tata Group which were eventually thwarted when he left the post of Chairman.

According to media reports, Walmart’s Senior executives have reportedly held meetings with leadership at Tata Group in efforts for an alliance between the two companies or a possible joint venture to target the retail space in India. Walmart may leverage Tata’s expertise to introduce a hybrid model.

Tata, being an offline retail veteran in the Indian market, would possibly be Walmart’s best bet to challenge the potential Amazon-Ambani alliance. Tata Group occupies the retail space with its brand stores of Westside, Croma, StarBazaar and it also operates the outlets for the International coffee brand Starbucks in India.

Meanwhile, the Jeff Bezos-led company is in talks with Reliance Retail to acquire a 26% stake. He also revealed about his plans for a possible tie-up with a global partner to push the retail business in India.

Amazon has also been marking its presence in the Indian market with significant acquisitions to boost its offline presence while it battles with Walmart owned Flipkart for the e-commerce space.

Apart from securing a 5% stake in apparel retail chain Shoppers Stop for Rs179.26 crore, it acquired the fourth largest supermarket chain in India – More in partnership with Samara Capital in September last year.

The deal was said to be sealed in Rs 4,200 crore

Additionally, Amazon is also reported to be in the final stage to acquire about 10% stake in Kishore Biyani owned Future Retail Group. Future Group operates around 1,035 consumer stores across India under the brand names of Big Bazaar, Easyday, Food Bazaar, and Aadhaar Wholesale.

The synergy could change Tata Group’s strategy towards online merchandise retail as its brand Tata Clique competes directly with Flipkart-owned Myntra in the online apparel retail space.

While partnering with established domestic brands will surely be fruitful for these foreign companies in establishing themselves in India, the ongoing fight between behemoths like Amazon-Walmart often leaves smaller retailers scrambling for petty changes in front of these two retail giants.

The development was reported first by ET.

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