The delay in setting up distribution centres and central processing centres for its fresh produce and FMCG products has pushed back Reliance Retail's new store openings in Mumbai and surrounding areas. It would now open the stores by mid-September from the earlier date of August-end, said company sources.
The retailer had planned to open 17 stores in August, with 100-odd stores planned in all the major suburbs of the city, including Thane, Bandra and Andheri, by the year end, said a Reliance Retail executive.
According to the executive, initially the company was to open three DCs in Vashi, Thane and Kurla, from where it would supply fruits, vegetables and FMCG products to its stores. It had also planned to open two CPCs, as part of its farm-to-store strategy, in Mumbai to process the fresh produce before being dispatched to distribution centres, a company executive said. However, the distribution centres were to directly procure FMCG products.
The executive said that the company would add five more DCs and two more CPCs going forward.
With the delays in setting up the DCs and CPCs, the opening of the new retail shops have been postponed. When contacted, the Reliance Retail spokesperson declined to comment on the reasons for the delay.
The executive, however, claimed that the company was going ahead with its expansion in other states, while maintaining status quo in Uttar Pradesh. The retail chain was forced to close its outlets following attacks by some groups in Lucknow and Varanasi and the subsequent closure order by the Mayawati government.
Currently, the company has over 200 Reliance Fresh stores across the country, including Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Jharkhand, the National Capital Region, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Karnataka.
Recently, it opened its hypermarket, Reliance Hypermart, in Ahmedabad and said it was planning to open 500 more stores across the country by 2010. The company is planning to roll out its hypermarts in Jamnagar, Chandigarh, Lucknow, Bangalore, Hyderabad, New Delhi, Chennai and Mumbai.
Earlier, the company had announced that it would invest Rs 25,000 crore (Rs 250 billion) by 2010 in rolling out its fresh produce stores, hypermarts, supermarkets and electronic stores, among others.