Reliance made its formal foray into retail with the unveiling of “Reliance Fresh” in Hyderabad. Though, Nita Ambani is reported to have visited Hyderabad two days ago to check last minute details, today’s launch was low key as none of the Ambani family members or its top brass, except Reliance Retail’s Food Biz President & CEO Gurnender Kapur, was present on the occasion.
Officially, this ‘Reliance Fresh’, located in upmarket Banjara Hills, will be opened to public on Friday, the 3rd November, 2006. The launch sets to rest, weeks of media and industry speculation about launch schedule of its first store; 18th October, 2006 (birthday of its promoter Mukesh Ambani) or 27th December, 2006 (birthday of its family patriarch Dhirubhai Ambani)?
Reliance Fresh will initially offer a range of fresh fruits, vegetables, flowers, food and dairy products. The product range will later on be expanded to include personal care, pharmaceuticals and consumer durable products. While, preparations are underway to open 40 Reliance ‘Fresh’ stores within one km. of each other, in the city, soon, 11 of these pilot ‘Reliance Fresh’ neighborhood convenience stores will be launched simultaneously on the 3rd November, 2006.
“We are planning to test the market through our pilots in the next few months in a phased manner,” said Gunender Kapur.
Reliance has also concurrently launched its private label “Reliance Select” with the promise of “High Quality and Tasty Food at Affordable Price to all Indian Consumers.” Although, staple food items like Atta, Rice, Pulses, etc. have initially been put on offer under the “Select” label, more categories like FMCG and, perhaps, Colas will be added soon. Internationally, private labels contribute around 16% of total retail sales.
With the debut of ‘Reliance Fresh,’ Reliance has set its Rs. 25,000 crore retail juggernaut rolling in less than 10 months of making its intentions public in January, 2006. Reliance plans to complete the Rs. 25,000 crore retail initiative within the next two years. Reliance intends to revolutionise modern retail scenario in the country by investing heavily in the ‘supply chain’ and technology. One third of the total investment is believed to have been earmarked for these initiatives.
As reported earlier, Mukesh Ambani aide Manoj Modi will head the company’s retail venture and Nita Ambani, who is believed to have designed the stores, would be in charge of branding, communications and people outreach. She would deal with Reliance Retail’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives as well as reach out to stakeholders including farmers, middle class consumers and suppliers.