Bharti Wal-Mart, the US retail giant's joint venture in India, today (2 February) formally named its self-service wholesale stores BestPrice Modern Wholesale.

Indian conglomerate Bharti Enterprises joined forces with Wal-Mart, the world's largest retailer to set up a wholesale cash-and-carry business to serve the Indian retail sector in 2007.

Membership registration for the wholesale retail chain has already begun, with a total of 50,000 - 65,000 business owners expected sign up, Bharti Wal-Mart said.

The BestPrice Modern Wholesale stores aim to be a one-stop shop that caters for the day-to-day needs of traders, other retail store owners, the horeca sector, fruit and vegetable resellers and kiranas.

The stores will carry a range of 6,000 to 10,000 SKUs, of which around 90% will be sourced locally in order to keep costs to a minimum.

The first BestPrice Modern Wholesale outlet is scheduled to open in the Punjab sometime this year.

"When we announced the JV in August 2007 year we gave ourselves a window of 18-24 months to launch our first wholesale cash-and-carry store. We are firmly on track," Raj Jain, MD and CEO of Bharti Wal-Mart, said.

However, the Bharti Wal-Mart is yet to reveal details of planned store openings.

"We have not yet announced the opening date of the wholesale cash & carry operations or their square footage," a spokesperson for Wal-Mart told just-food.