Give the Customers what they want, when and where they want it.Joe C Thomson Jr., Founder, 7-Eleven
In what could be a coup of sorts, Reliance Retail has forged a JV with 7-Eleven, the world’s largest offline retail chain with over 77,000 stores in 18 countries worldwide. The American company had, in 2019 entered in to a JV with Kishore Biyani’s Future Group and it was expected that the Group would align it’s KB’s Fair Price format with 7-Eleven and form a formidable network of a few thousand neighbourhood stores through which it would sell groceries and household items which are part of Future Consumer Products, through brands such as Care Mate, Tasty Treat, Karmiq, Ekta, Mother Earth, Golden Harvest among others. However, the JV did not materialise immediately in 2019.The year 2020 began with the covid-19 pandemic followed by complete and intermittent lockdowns due to which the Future Group’s finances went into disarray, forcing the King of Retail, Mr. Biyani to sell the entire group, lock, stock and barrel to the Emperor of Retail, Mr. Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Group. In a press release and through a notification to SEBI, Reliance Retail announced the new JV with 7-Eleven. The company will open its first store at Andheri in suburban Mumbai on Sat. 9 Oct. ’21, the third day of Navarathri, considered a very auspicious period.
Ms. Isha Ambani, Director, Reliance Retail Ventures Limited, said, “At Reliance, we pride ourselves in offering the best to our customers and we are proud to bring 7-Eleven, the globally trusted convenience store, to India. 7-Eleven is among the most iconic global brands in the convenience retail landscape. The new pathways we build together with SEI will offer Indian customers greater convenience and choices within their own neighborhoods.”
“India is the second largest country in the world and has one of the fastest-growing economies. It’s an ideal time for the largest convenience retailer in the world to make our entry into India” said SEI President and Chief Executive Officer Joe DePinto. “Our strategic relationship with Reliance Retail Ventures will bring 7-Eleven’s brand of convenient products and services to millions of Indian consumers starting in the city ofMumbai.”
Reliance Retail is well poised to lead the Modern Retail Industry in India over the next decade through it’s 360* approach, combining offline consumer retail (through its neighbourhood stores across formats), warehouse retailing (R’Mart -the wholesale format), online retail (JioMart App) as well as omni-channel delivery platforms. To top it up, the group’s JIO telecom network will connect over 400 million users in India with the “salt to steel Reliance Retail formats”, a significant competitive advantage which rival TATA Group or Birlas or any others do not posses. Over the past one year, Reliance Retail has been the biggest gainer of its omni-channel model, so much so that it is converting a number of Reliance Fresh stores to Reliance “Smart Points” which will double up as storage locations, to deliver goods to customers in the shortest possible time when they oder through the JioMart mobile App.
Jio Point of Sales (PoS) has been under testing for a while now and it is expected that Reliance will take the PoS to millions of kiranas and may encourage them to become a Reliance touchpoint, by supplying everything from Inventory to Customers, Technology to Delivery Services and of course, working capital too. This is where the 7-Eleven format could come across as a big bet. Many offline Retailers are wary of threat and competition from the formidable Reliance Retail formats such as Trends (clothing), Fresh (Grocery), Footwear, Eyewear, etc. The group could camouflage its presence through franchising the 7-Eleven concept, yet supplying it’s own private label products to the small and marginal Kirana shops, an estimated 12 million across the country. It could be a win-win for both the Group as well as the meagre shopkeeper while the consumer could be the biggest beneficiary.