American multinational retail giant Walmart has fired 56 of its India executives including eight from senior management, Krish Iyer, President and CEO of its India unit, said on Monday, January 13.

Walmart has fired around 50 of its India executives as part of its restructuring in the country.Reuters

The world's largest retailer is also preparing to wind up its physical presence in India and will continue to cut staff. The executives already sacked include vice presidents across sourcing, agri-business and fast-moving consumer goods, and the real estate team responsible for finding new store locations has been disbanded, said the report.

The Bentonville, Arkansas-based firm reportedly sees no future in its physical operations in India and is likely to sell it or merge it with Flipkart, the e-commerce platform it bought for $16 billion in 2018, the report said.

The struggles Walmart India has faced

The move underscores the struggles Walmart India has faced in expanding its wholesale business in the country. It currently operates 28 wholesale stores where it sells goods to small shopkeepers, and not to retail consumers.

The firings mostly affected executives in the company's real estate division because the growth in the wholesale model has not been that robust.

"It's happening because the focus is shifting to e-commerce rather than physical (stores)," said one source.

Krish Iyer said that a press report of a second round of layoffs in April was baseless, reports news agency Reuters. Earlier, it was reported that the Bentonville, Ark. based firm had fired around 50 of its India executives as part of its restructuring in the country.

Last year in 2018, it paid $16 billion to acquire a majority stake in India's online marketplace Flipkart, in its biggest global acquisition.

(With agency inputs)