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June 23, 2008

Status check on large retailers

Business Today has a cover story providing a status check on the plans of large retailers including Reliance Retail, Bharti-Walmart, Birla Retail, Future Group, etc.
Consider the rollout— which (Raghu Pillai, President & CEO, Retail Operations & Strategy, Reliance Retail) would rather term a “cloudburst,”—so far: Hypermarkets, Reliance Town Centres, supermarkets, convenience stores, specialty stores (digital, health and wellness, apparel, etc.), rural business hubs; in categories like food & grocery, consumer durables & electronics, auto care and lifestyle. The big bang of course has been in foods & grocery, where RRL has 572 Reliance Fresh stores across 59 cities. And there’s the biggest store in India, the hypermart that’s branded Reliance Mart (there are three of them so far), in Ahmedabad, spread over 165,000 sq. ft.

...By July the hypermarts will be spread over 1 million sq. ft. Currently, RRL is spread over 3.5 million sq. ft (1.5 million sq. ft being hogged by the 572 Reliance Fresh stores selling fruits & vegetables)— all done over the past 17 months, which has company officials boasting that this is the fastest rollout on such a scale in the world.

“In categories like garments and lifestyle, and to a certain extent consumer durables, (organised retail) has made significant progress. But in foods and grocery, the biggest market, the action has yet to play out,” says Pillai, who is also on the board of RRL.

Arun Natarajan is the Founder & CEO of Venture Intelligence, the leading provider of information and networking services to the private equity and venture capital ecosystem in India. View free samples of Venture Intelligence newsletters and reports.