Reliance Industries - World's 2nd biggest after Apple

Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) is grabbing every single opportunity, be it collaborating with technology companies, acquiring leading retailers or adding physical stores or its entry into the online retail space for gaining access to advanced technologies, to gain a dominant position in the Indian retail landscape, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

Reliance Retail, which is already a front runner in the Indian retail industry, had reportedly sold over 20 million electronic units, 160 million garments, 2.6 billion grocery units during the FY2019 ended in March 2020. In the same year, the retailer had also added 1,500 stores and over 30% to its total retail space.

In April 2020, Facebook paid US$5.7bn for a 9.99% stake in India’s Reliance Jio Platforms. In July 2020, Google agreed to invest US$4.5bn for 7.7% stake in Jio Platforms.

RIL’s recent collaboration with technology businesses such as Facebook and Google will help it gain access to advanced technologies and valuable consumer data, which can be leveraged in its retail platforms.

RIL is looking to acquire Future Retail, an Indian retail conglomerate that owns renowned retail chains such as Big Bazaar, HyperCity and More. The deal, if it works out, will complement Reliance Retail’s massive reach in the country by adding an additional 1,500 stores to its already substantial network of over 11,784 stores across the country. Similarly, Relaince Retail is reportedly in talks with Arvind Fashions Ltd to buy two of its denim brands Newport and Ruf & Tuff.

The company is also betting big on India’s fast-growing online grocery market. In August 2019, it announced its entry into the online grocery retailing via a new e-commerce platform, JioMart, and subsequently started a pilot for the same in Mumbai in January 2020. The value chain created by JioMart connects local offline retailers on a large scale with its merchant point of sale (POS) solution, where it provides user friendly digital platforms for inventory management, customer care services and other services required by the retailers. The Facebook partnership has enabled JioMart to leverage the WhatsApp platform to accelerate its growth.

Vijay Bhupathiraju, Retail Analyst at GlobalData says, “Reliance can also use its already well-established formats including Reliance Fresh and Reliance Supermart to not only aid its supply chain systems, but also lure their customers to become familiar with online grocery shopping through omni-channel strategies.”

Another feather in the cap of Mukesh Ambani, Reliance Industries Group, India’s oil-to-telecom conglomerate has just been ranked second biggest brand after Apple on the FutureBrand Index 2020.

“This year’s highest entrant at number two, Reliance Industries excels on every attribute,” FutureBrand said, releasing its 2020 Index.

One of the most-profitable companies in India, Reliance is, “very well respected” and “seen as behaving ethically” as well as being associated with “growth”, “innovative products” and “great customer service”, it said.

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