Reliance Retail is planning a big push in the e-commerce segment this year through rollout of online stores for fashion and lifestyle, grocery and business- to-business verticals.
With an eye on Internet infrastructure of group firm Reliance Jio, the company is keen on creating “a differentiated e-commerce model” for India. In modern retail, the company is looking to scale up its presence to over 900 cities from the current 200 across formats by the next year. “Reliance Retail this year will be embarking on its next phase of building a high-growth trajectory supported with e-commerce and larger geographic coverage,” Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani said while addressing shareholders at the company’s AGM here.
With plans to tap consumers as they “embrace technology and get access to anytime anywhere shopping”, Ambani said: “With the advanced Internet infrastructure built by Jio and a robust physical retail business built by Reliance Retail, we will create a differentiated e-commerce model for India.” He added that the model will enable seamless integration of online and offline while “innovating across superior customer experience, delivery services and payment ecosystem”. Elaborating, Ambani said: “Before the end of year, the fashion and lifestyle formats of Reliance Retail will roll out its e-commerce initiative and make fashion more trendy and accessible to the aspiring Indian youth.”
Reliance’s e-commerce initiative in grocery, www.reliancefreshdirect.com, which is currently being piloted, has seen significant success and will be further scaled up to serve new markets, he added. “The third e-commerce initiative is building on the successful experience of our physical B2B business. We are rolling out Reliance Digital Market place platform to enable millions of small retailers and provide them with an enhanced supplier base and product range, better supply chain productivity, digital payment capability, connectivity to customers and credit capability,” Ambani said.
On expansion of physical stores of Reliance Retail, he said: “We are committed to scaling up our retail presence across formats from 200 cities to over 900 cities by next year so that the benefits of organised retail are realised by a wider cross-section of Indian consumers.” Currently, Reliance Retail has a network of over 2,600 stores in 20 states offering “employment opportunities for growth to over 50,000 associates across the country”.
Reliance Retail, operating across various product categories and formats, attained revenues of over Rs 17,000 crore last year, Ambani said, adding “we achieved record profits of Rs 784 crore at an EBITDA level”. Despite challenges of a tough consumer environment, the business recorded a compounded annual revenue growth of 31 percent in the last 5 years, he added. “We accelerated our pace of growth by adding 930 new stores last year which effectively translates into introducing five new stores every two days setting a new global benchmark in terms of the largest number of store openings in a year,” RIL Chairman said.