Reliance to launch pilot stores on Nov 3

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By OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT
  • Published 29.10.06
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Hyderabad Oct. 29: Reliance Retail Ltd will formally kick off the retail revolution envisaged by group chairman Mukesh D. Ambani by launching its first set of pilot stores in Hyderabad on November 3.

To be called Reliance Fresh, these ‘friendly neighbourhood stores’ will sell fresh fruits, vegetables, staples and other products. The pilot stores will be spread across 2,000 sq ft to 5,000 sq ft. The size of the stores will increase as Reliance Retail unveils other formats over the coming months.

This format would be followed by launch of a nation-wide chain of hypermarkets, supermarkets, discount stores, department stores, convenience stores and specialty stores at an investment of over Rs 25,000 crore in the next five years.

“The (Reliance Fresh) store is for everyone... Prices are affordable for everyone,” Reliance Industries Ltd president and chief executive (foods business) Gunender Kapur said after unveiling the Reliance Fresh brand. He, however, declined to specify how affordable the prices would be vis-a-vis the neighbourhood vegetable market.

On why Hyderabad was chosen for the retail rollout, RIL chief executive (customer operations) K.S. Venugopal said this city was “as representative of India as any other city”.

While it would have been easy and rational to piggyback off RIL's brand image, Mukesh’s wife Nita Ambani felt that the retail business must be distinct from the parent company. However, the fresh format stores retain the logo of Reliance Industries.

The Reliance fresh format store represents the front- end of RIL's farm-to-fork project, which involves procuring farm products through agri hubs, establishing a supply chain and providing logistics and finally retailing the products.