Mumbai: Reliance Industries plans to grow the number of low-cost Reliance Trends fashion stores across India to 2,500 from 557 over the next five years and integrate them with its online business, two people briefed on the plans said.
The expansion, which has not been reported before, is the latest move by the conglomerate’s billionaire owner Mukesh Ambani to grab a dominant share of Indian consumer spending in a struggle with rivals, particularly Amazon and Flipkart.
Reliance’s plans to diversify into e-commerce and expand in fashion come on the heels of India's new foreign investment curbs that have dealt at least a temporary blow to Amazon and Flipkart.
Narendra Modi's government in December modified foreign direct investment rules for e-commerce, barring online retailers from selling products via vendors in which they have an equity interest, and also from making deals with vendors to sell exclusively on their platforms.
Ambani founded Reliance Retail in 2007 to transform his petroleum behemoth into a consumer-facing conglomerate.
TARGETING 300 CITIES
Expectations that Ambani will increase bets on retail have been growing, and the latest plan was presented at meetings earlier this year, the sources said, citing proposals the company shared with retail advisors.
Reliance Trends would be in 300 cities in five years, from 160 now, said the second person briefed on the plan....