Mumbai: Reliance Industries on assured the small shopkeepers and vendors that the retail operations by the company would in no way jeopardise their interests, but would rather provide better services to consumers.
“We are sensitive to small shopkeepers. Our retail initiative will in no way jeopardise their interests and those of small vendors who service consumers. In fact, our initiative will enable them improve their income and serve consumers better,” RIL CMD Mukesh Ambani said at the company’s 33rd Annual General Meeting here.
He emphasised that organised retail would gain momentum once the common man and farmers fully understand the benefit of the initiative.
“There have been concerns in some quarters on the roll-out of the organised retail initiative. These concerns have sensitised Reliance to enhance the level of engagement and inclusiveness with all constituents,” he added.
RIL’s retail initiative faced severe roadblock in Uttar Pradesh and Orissa in the last few months from different quarters.
“Our organised retail initiative is configured to increase income in the hands of farmers and serve consumers by improving supply chain and distribution efficiency. We want to achieve these twin goals by reducing wastage,” he said.
Mukesh said organised retail would also generate significant employment opportunities - both full-time and flexible time - particularly in rural India, for those who are weak on employability.
Without specifying company’s retail roll-out plan, Mukesh said RIL is committed to what it has set out to achieve.
Citing an example, Mukesh said the company’s initiative, bringing high quality tissue cultured banana plants, has improved the production of the ‘poor man’s fruit´ in states like, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh.
“Reliance directly buys these bananas from farmers at prices that are 10-15 per cent higher than what they get through conventional channels, apart from having correct weight,” the RIL CMD said.
Reliance Retail, which is 6,000 professionals strong, has opened 300 stores in 30 cities and 12 states, since its launch in November 2006 in the pilot phase.
It has also opened speciality stores focused on consumer durables and information technology products and apparels- called Reliance Digital and Reliance Trends, respectively.
In addition, the company has opened country’s largest hypermarket, RelianceMart, spread over 165,000 sq ft in Ahmedabad.