India’s Reliance Retail is planning to launch a new premium department store by early next year — a move that will better position it to compete against incumbents such as Shoppers Stop and Lifestyle International.
The company is said to be looking for spaces that are in the 25,000 to 35,000 square feet range and will feature Reliance Brands, Reliance Retail-affiliated brands and various private labels from India and abroad.
Reliance Brands, which is operated by the parent company Reliance Industries, has a vast portfolio of international luxury brands, including Armani, Burberry, Diesel, Jimmy Choo and Salvatore Ferragamo. The company already operates a luxury brand chain called White Crow, which has four stores in Ahmedabad, Chandigarh, Hyderabad and Surat.
Reliance Retail’s move to launch the store chain comes nearly 10 months after the company raised $1.3 billion in funding by selling a 10 percent stake to Silver Lake Partners and KKR & Co Inc.
The company is in a tense battle with Amazon, pushing hard to make inroads in the Indian retail market. In October last year, Reliance Retail acquired cash-starved Future Group, which runs the second-largest retail store chain in the country, for $3.4 billion. Amazon, however, objected to the deal as it had a minority stake in Future Group, which gave it a right to refuse more stakes in the company.
After months of court battle, India’s Supreme Court ruled in favor of Amazon last month, nullifying what would have been the largest retail deal in the Indian retail landscape.