Notwithstanding the overall consumption slump last year, Reliance had two of the most profitable quarters recently, said Akhilesh Prasad, president and CEO of Reliance Lifestyle and Fashion.
In an exclusive interaction with The Morning Standard on the sidelines of the recently concluded India Fashion Forum 2019 at Bengaluru, Prasad said that Reliance Retail will expand aggressively next year, exploring the online, offline and omnichannel commerce.
The retail arm of Reliance Industries Limited clocked the highest ever revenue at Rs 41,202 crore. Its operating profit grew 67 per cent to Rs 2,322 crore in the July-September quarter.
“The revenue for the quarter surpassed the milestone of Rs 40,000 crore. To put the scale in perspective, this is higher than the annual revenue registered by the next largest retailer in the country,” RIL had earlier said in a statement while announcing its results for the second quarter of this fiscal. Reliance Retail has recorded growth in revenue for 14 consecutive quarters. In terms of expansion, Reliance saw a robust growth across fashion, supermarkets and electronic goods verticals.
A total of 337 stores were opened in the July-September quarter alone.
“We are looking to expand and venture into new segments next year. Indian retail is one of the biggest markets worldwide and Reliance is aggressively pushing to expand and tap the markets,” Prasad said.
He added that the organised retail still constitutes just 20 per cent of the overall industry in India and hence, the slowdown had a minimal effect there. Reliance currently has its footprints all over the country with over 10,000 stores and a big bet on its grocery, electronic goods and fashion businesses.
“Growth is our agenda for the next year as well, and there will be certainly expansion of footprints all over the country,” Prasad said.
He added that Reliance’s online fashion platform ajio.com is already generating good revenue.
However, the launch of the much talked about e-commerce company by RIL is still in the ideation phase.
Prasad said that the organised (modern) retail in India is still far behind than the unorganised one, which has a widespread presence beyond tier 2 and 3 cities.
Adoption of technology, according to him, would be pivotal in helping smaller retailers in the country merge with big brands, to help the retail industry grow further.