NEW DELHI: Reliance Retail on Tuesday announced its entry into consumer durable retailing through the launch of Reliance Digital which will initially sell over 150 international and domestic consumer durable brands.
In the next couple of quarters, the company intends to get into private labels and the process of creating a sourcing mechanism has already begun. The first Reliance Digital store will be located at Shipra Mall in Ghaziabad.
RIL is looking at a chain of about 30 Reliance Digital stores in various parts of the country by the end of 2007. “In the next three-four years, we aim to take this number up to 150,” said Reliance Retail's CEO of consumer durables Ajay Baijal.
Availability of real estate seems to be the company's prime concern, to the extent that RIL chairman Mukesh Ambani has mandated his confidant Adwal Shankar to directly spearhead the procurement of real estate for the project.
Apart from selling consumer durable brands, RIL may use the Reliance Digital format to step into other businesses such as consumer finance and travel services. ET has learnt from sources close to the development that Reliance Digital is in talks with Citibank to provide easy instalments to customers.
At a later stage, Reliance Retail would look at entering various domains of financial services such as consumer finance and rural and agri credit on its own. The project is being spearheaded by K Murlidhara whom Reliance Retail had poached from American Express Bank.
This apart, Mr Murlidhara is also working on a project aimed at leveraging the Reliance Digital format. “The company has tied up with a couple of travel services companies and plans to offer holiday packages along with purchases,'' said a source.
At present, Reliance Retail has 134 stores in the food & grocery format in various parts of the country and consumer durable is only the second format that the company has ventured into. In the next couple of months, the company will launch specialty stores in apparel and health & wellness. Reliance's hypermarkets are expected to be rolled out in the next three-four months.