Reliance’s e-commerce onslaught now includes Trends stores

Chennai: Richest Indian Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries Ltd is reportedly planning to grow the number of low-cost Reliance Trends fashion stores across India to 2,500 from 557 over the next five years.

Reports also state that RIL will integrate them with its e-commerce business, as it plans to take on global e-commerce giants Amazon and Walmart Inc’s Flipkart.

The move comes as the more successful Ambani plans to grab a dominant share of Indian consumer spending in a struggle with rivals.

The plans to diversify into e-commerce and expand in fashion come on the heels of India’s new e-commerce policy that have dealt at least a temporary blow to global e-commerce giants.

The government recently modified FDI 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.

According to reports, Ambani will increase bets on retail and the latest plan was presented at meetings earlier this year.

The expansion plan should allow Reliance Trends, which sells accessories as well as clothing, to rapidly grow its private labels—the retailer’s own brands, said people in the know, reported the Mint.

Reliance Trends would be in 300 cities in five years, from 160 now. Last year, Reliance Trends opened over 100 stores, the report said.

Reliance Trends has a total of eight centres, seven in India and one in London, to design items. Reports state that the personnel in the centres look at global trends and adopt it to Indian taste and at a a price which is affordable to churn out our private labels. Almost 80% of Reliance Trends’ revenue comes from private labels.

Further, reports state that the next-level growth for Reliance Trends is to integrate the available private labels with its e-commerce venture and penetrate deeper into smaller, tier III and IV cities.

Ambani’s new venture aims to connect small and mid-sized merchants with his retail network and warehouses, helping them better manage inventory as well as boost sales of Reliance’s private labels.

Serious funding
In a bid to boost its e-commerce launch, RIL made five big investments via Reliance Industrial Investments and Holdings in the last two weeks:

Grab A Grub Services

Reliance Industries-controlled Reliance Industrial Investment and Holdings Limited (RIIHL), has agreed to invest Rs 106 crores to pick up 83 per cent stake in Mumbai-based logistics platform. It is looking to invest an additional Rs 40 crores in the company.

C-Square Info Solutions

RIIHL has agreed to invest Rs 22.04 crore in pharma-focused software solutions company, C-Square Info Solutions Private Limited (‘C-Square’), with a further capital infusion of Rs 60 crore into the company. The total investment will translate into 82 per cent of equity capital in C-Square on a fully diluted basis.

Reverie Language Technologies

According to documents filing at BSE, Reliance will invest up to Rs 190 crore in Bengaluru-based local language technology service startup Reverie to acquire its shares, and further, it will invest up to Rs 77 crore in the Bengaluru-based startup. The deal will give Reliance 83.3 per cent stake upon completion.

In addition, Reliance also invested in EasyGov and Sankhya Sutra Labs.

NT Bureau