Reliance to expand shopping empire by 7 stores a day

Wednesday 23rd November 2022 05:15 EST

Reliance Industries wants to establish itself in India's towns and cities by controlling the $800 billion retail market as well. This includes forming alliances with high-end fashion brands like Balenciaga and buying a Coca-Cola knockoff.

Reliance’s 16-year-old shopping unit has often been overlooked, as Ambani’s Jio mobile network stole the limelight in transforming India’s data landscape. However, it has come into focus as Ambani plots his succession, saying he wants to spin out Retail and Jio and allot their leadership to his eldest children, twins Isha and Akash.

Reliance is growing its retail empire at a rate of seven stores per day, using acquisitions to accelerate growth and investing about $3.6 billion in the previous fiscal year. This is taking advantage of restrictions that make it difficult for foreign companies to compete in India's fragmented retail sector, which is still largely made up of family-owned shops. It has 16,000 stores across India, while online purchases contribute 17 per cent of revenues, according to a person with direct knowledge of the matter.

In its latest potential acquisition, Retail has reportedly bid $500mn for German wholesaler Metro’s Indian business. Indian law permits foreign firms to own 100% of a cash and carry operation, but only if they don't engage in direct consumer sales. Reliance, by contrast, could unlock value by extending the business to sell direct to shoppers through Metro’s 31 distribution centres, said a person familiar with the company’s thinking.

Additionally, Reliance has declared that by the end of the year, it will establish its own fast-moving consumer goods division.

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