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Reliance Retail plans apparel blitzkrieg

September 29, 2007 13:39 IST
Apparel retailers such as the Future Group's Pantaloons, Tata's Westside and Shoppers' Stop will face the onslaught from Reliance Retail next month. The name of the new venture is expected to be announced in a couple of days.

The company's first apparel store will be launched in Gurgaon in October with 22 in-house retail brands and a team of 76 designers tapping the men, women and kidswear segment.

According to sources, in the menswear segment, Reliance Retail will introduce brands such as DNM, a denim wear brand, the sportswear label Net Play and a range of casual wear shirts called X Code. It has also lined up kidswear brands such as Sparsz, Panda and Pogo.

Reliance also plans to tap the emerging segment of branded women's wear with brands such as Grip, Network and Enamor. The company will also focus on the lingerie segment and has appointed an expat to head the operations.

Competitors such as Future Group have already entered into a joint venture with French lingerie brand Etam. Italian luxury lingerie brand La Perla is set to open its first Indian store.

When contacted, Reliance officials refused to comment on the developments.

Apart from creating its own labels, Reliance has forged a strategic partnership with apparel brands such as Wrangler, John Players and Lee. These brands would supply their sub-brands to be sold exclusively in Reliance apparel stores.

For instance, Wrangler has developed Wrangler X, a separate brand in the casual denims. Similarly in the womenswear segment, ethnic label Biba has created a special brand for Reliance.

The first store (measuring 25,000 sq ft) will be launched in October, followed by stores in Delhi, Bangalore, Mumbai and Hyderabad. Reliance plans to open about 110 standalone apparel stores.

"Initially the company's strategy was to introduce seamless malls where individual shops would be operated on a franchisee basis, but we instead opted for standalone apparel stores," said a company executive.

Meanwhile, Arun Deshmukh is reportedly expected to head Reliance Retail's apparel business following the exit of Sriram Srinivasan, former managing director of Indian Terrain.

According to Technopak Advisors, the apparel retail market has touched about Rs 1 lakh crore, with organised retail forming 20 per cent of the pie.

Among apparel retailers, Westside currently follows the private label model. Others such as Pantaloons and Shoppers' Stop have a mix of private labels and other brands. However, Future Group has already formed Future Brands to develop its private labels into brands.

Reliance has Reliance Fresh, the chain of fresh produce stores, Reliance Digital, a consumer durables and information technology store chain, and the Reliancemart hypermarket chain. While it has about 330 Fresh stores, it has just one digital store and one hypermarket so far.

Leaps and Bounds

  • The first store measuring 25,000 sq ft will be launched in Gurgaon in October, followed by stores in Delhi, Bangalore, Mumbai and Hyderabad.
  • It will have 22 in-house retail brands and a team of 76 designers tapping the men, women and kidswear segment.
  • Apart from creating its own labels, Reliance has forged a strategic partnership with apparel brands such as Wrangler, John Players and Lee.
  • These brands would supply their sub-brands to be sold exclusively in the Reliance apparel stores.
Tejal A Deshpande in Mumbai
Source: