March 25, 2020 / 9:51 AM / 3 days ago

Walmart taps Sameer Aggarwal as CEO of Indian unit, says in touch with suppliers

FILE PHOTO: Walmart's logo is seen outside one of the stores in Chicago, Illinois, U.S., November 20, 2018. REUTERS/Kamil Krzaczynski

BENGALURU (Reuters) - Walmart Inc (WMT.N) on Wednesday named Sameer Aggarwal chief executive officer of Best Price, its Indian cash and carry business, and said it was in touch with supplier partners for adequate stocking at its stores during the 21-day government sanctioned lockdown.

Aggarwal, who served as executive vice president for Walmart India for nearly two years before being elevated as deputy CEO in January, will take over from Krish Iyer on April 1.

Iyer will be working with Aggarwal until June 30.

Indians crowded grocery stores and chemists on Wednesday in a struggle for essential items after the government ordered a total lockdown for three weeks to fight a coronavirus pandemic.

Walmart India also said it was working towards identifying future bottlenecks, if they arise, to ensure supply chains remain intact and it continues to help meet consumer needs during this outbreak.

“Our members shop with us in multiple ways - in-store, online and through our sales associates. In the current situation, our members need us more than ever for continued supply of essentials in the communities. At the same time, we are working with the government to ensure we minimize people in our stores to prevent the risk of spreading COVID-19,” a Walmart India spokesman said.

Aggarwal’s appointment comes months after the world’s largest retailer fired 56 of its executives in India as part of its restructuring in the country.

Walmart India operates 28 Best Price wholesale stores in the country, and also competes with Amazon (AMZN.O) through online marketplace Flipkart, its $16 billion acquisition.

Flipkart has suspended services in the country due to the lockdown.

Reporting by Chris Thomas in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber

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