Ahmedabad/Mumbai: On Wednesday, less than a year after it kicked off its Rs25,000 crore retail initiative with convenience stores branded Fresh, Reliance Retail Ltd will unveil the first of its hypermarkets.
Branded Reliance Mart, the first of these, a 165,000 sq. ft, three-storey store on Ahmedabad’s Sarkhej-Gandhinagar highway, will sell 95,000 products (called stock-keeping units in retail industry lingo) and open for business with an aggregate stock of half a million pieces.
The hypermarket (much like a super-market, only larger and selling a few more categories of products than typical supermarkets) will sell discounted food and grocery products but it won’t just be a discount store.
It will also sell consumer durables, stationery, toys, home furnishings and medicines, and offer services such as tailoring and laundry. Vimal, the fabric brand owned by Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), of which Reliance Retail is a subsidiary, will have a store within the hypermart and offer custom-tailoring services.
The hypermarket forms a key part of Reliance’s retail plans. The company has more than 250 Fresh stores across 10 states and has launched a chain of consumer durable stores. It has also announced plans for its own logistics network and a large contract-farming initiative.
Hyper store: The 165,000sq. ft, three-storey Reliance Mart on Ahmedabad’s Sarkhej-Gandhinagar highway.
Hypermarkets are the most visible face of organized retail in India.
Pantaloon Retail India Ltd has more than 50 Big Bazaar outlets, its own hypermarkets. The Aditya Birla Group has announced plans for hypermarkets (which it will set up in addition to its convenience stores, More).
Shoppers’ Stop Ltd also has stake in Hypercity, a Mumbai-based hypermarket and plans to expand this into a chain.
Last week, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. announced plans to enter the Indian market with wholesale cash-and-carry stores in association with Bharti Enterprises Ltd.
While the Reliance stores will be among the bigger hypermarkets in the country, Big Bazaar, whose stores are typically around 100,000-110,000 sq. ft, has nine so-called super centres, which are 160,000 sq. ft or more in size.
The next Reliance hypermart is expected to be opened (by October) in Jamnagar, where RIL has a refining complex, followed by another one in New Delhi.
The company will set up at least two dozen such hypermarts across the country in the next year, said people close to the development at Reliance Retail, who did not wish to be identified.
While industry numbers suggest that such stores get 20,000-30,000 customers on the opening day and up to 15,000 customers on weekends, Reliance executives expect many more customers to walk in on the opening day, Wednesday.
Local retailers in Ahmedabad have been busy advertising their special Independence Day sales through ads in the city edition of newspapers.
On Saturday, a full-page ad in all the papers said that the best deals will start soon after these sales end. The ad was from Reliance.