Flipkart to focus on Flipkart Plus, grocery sales in 2021, CEO says

Bengaluru: Flipkart will expand its subscription programme Flipkart Plus, strengthen its value proposition in the grocery segment and invest in technology and infrastructure in 2021, Chief Executive Officer Kalyan Krishnamurthy said on Thursday.

The major challenges that the online marketplace faced due to the coronavirus lockdown last year also gave it a chance to “re-architect” its financials and become more financially prudent, Krishnamurthy said during parent company Walmart’s Q4 investor presentation.

“We got closer to our seller-partners, closer to our consumers, a more trusted employee brand, and finally, more financially prudent,” Krishnamurthy said in a chat with Judith McKenna, president of Walmart International, who asked him about Flipkart’s plans.

McKenna said Walmart’s India businesses of Flipkart and PhonePe performed exceptionally well last year, despite challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, and that the fundamentals based on which the US retail giant invested in the company two-and-a-half years ago remain unchanged.

“Flipkart’s GMV (gross merchandise value) growth was impacted by a 53-day shutdown in the first half of the year, but the business rebounded and exited Q4 with strong momentum, delivering GMV growth roughly double that of the full year,” McKenna said.

She noted that PhonePe, the digital payment service
that was recently spun off as a separate business from Flipkart, had crossed 1 billion monthly transactions.

“This year, we have set a target of creating over 10,000 rural jobs to scale our merchant network to 25 million small businesses across all 5,500 semi-urban and rural districts in India,” Sameer Nigam, founder of PhonePe, said in his presentation to Walmart’s investors.

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Walmart’s international sales, of which Flipkart and PhonePe are a part, climbed 5.5% to $34.9 billion in the quarter ended January 29, 2021, on account of strong top line growth led by Flipkart, along with its operations in Mexico and Canada, the company said in a statement.

For the full financial year, Walmart’s international net sales grew 1%, with strength in Mexico, Canada and India.

“In India, our momentum and potential for growth make this a unique opportunity. E-commerce penetration is still low, but growing rapidly and well-positioned to grow as an emerging middle class spends more money through their mobile phones, like the US and Mexico. This is a market where we’ll step on the gas to ensure we have the appropriate level of investment in areas like supply chain,” said Doug McMillon, president of Walmart.


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