Home >Companies >News >Small towns, JioMart buoy Reliance Retail

Healthy sales across small-town stores and significant traffic on JioMart saved the April-June quarter for Reliance Retail Ltd, as the second wave of covid-19 infections wreaked havoc, said Dinesh Thapar, group chief financial officer, Reliance Retail.

On Friday, the company reported an increase of 79.88% in pre-tax profit to 1,941 crore for the first quarter of FY22, while revenue from operations stood at 33,566 crore, up 19.04% from 28,197 a year ago.

“Our small-town performance has been very resilient. It did drop, but clearly not to the extent that it did in some of the larger towns and is contributing meaningfully to our business right now," said Thapar, adding that the operating metrics of the fashion and lifestyle business in small towns is well above average.

During the second wave of covid-19, Reliance Retail could operate only 123-odd stores , instead of around 1,000 stores it had planned to open in the first quarter. “There are about 700-odd stores that are ready, been fitted out and just await conditioning," the company said. “Operating efficiency was impacted due to the restrictions across the network as stores were operating for 70%, 25%, and 38% of normal working hours in April, May and June, respectively." The company also said that “retail stores and digital commerce could sell only essentials for the most part of the quarter".

JioMart, which was launched in May 2020, saw 25% quarter-on-quarter rise in orders, with 70-75% repeat orders. JioMart is now present in 218 cities, while Reliance Retail’s kirana partnerships were up by a third during the quarter. “JioMart has really come in many ways to the rescue. In a quarter when the store network was stifled, digital commerce and new commerce in many ways contributed about 20% of the business," said Thapar, adding that JioMart continues to scale up.

“We continue to build capabilities for faster on-boarding. So, as curbs are lifted, you could expect rapid acceleration of our on-boarding of kirana partners," the company said.

Reliance Retail’s fashion website, Ajio, recorded improvement on all operating and customer metrics, with monthly active users, on-site traffic, and orders up by four times, the company said. “Ajio now is equal to the revenue that we did for a full year in the period pre-covid period. So that’s the business that has continued to be in momentum and is now contributing very meaningfully to our apparel and footwear business," it said.

The company is investing significantly in last-mile fulfilment, supply chain and distribution centre or fulfilment centre capacity. “We’re now investing really for new peaks that we are starting to see in this business," it said.

Reliance Retail has also invested in online pharmacy Netmeds, furniture e-tailer Urban Ladder and online lingerie retailer Zivame, to expand the company’s offerings in the fast-growing e-commerce segment. New businesses continue to witness expansion with 60% quarter-on-quarter growth in orders. The hyperlocal capabilities were extended to more than 150 stores for same-day deliveries, the company said.

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