Reliance Retail To Storm India With 20 Hamleys Toy Stores

Hamleys- one of worlds largest toy stores- is set to storm Indian market under its tie-up with one of Indias largest retail brands- Reliance Retail.

A lucrative subsidiary of Mukesh Ambani owned Reliance Industries Limited (RIL), Reliance Retail is a strong arm extension of this private major. Currently, it operates in 1,000 stores in more than 85 cities across the country.

Under its tie-up with the UK based toy store, Reliance Retail launched the first Hamleys toy store in Asia in the city of Mumbai in April 2010. Reliance Retail President and Chief Executive Officer Bijou Kurien reported that, Our first store in Mumbai which is spread across 21,000 square foot has got a very good response. It was a pilot store. Now this is a large store. With this we have plan to open 18 stores in India over the next seven years.

Hamleys as a brand is a very strong and reputable. The flagship store is considered one of London’s major tourist attractions, and receives about five million visitors a year. The USP of such a mammoth like establishment lies in its superior range of products, variety and quality.

As far as Indian toy market is considered, it is presently valued at Rs. 15,000 crore, growing annually by almost 15%. Fueled by a vast domestic market, the industry has now turned its attention to global markets and is fast gearing up to meet international demands.

In an effort to realize this expectation, Reliance Retail has joined forces with one of worlds top toy marketers as a part of expanding its footprint. The new stores in India will be launched under Pilot Store-Large store category, spread across 11,000 to 21,000 square feet of space.
Hamleys Global CEO Gudjon Reynisson said that the company holds all local partnerships for merchandising their toys in any country where dearly. And an opportunity to spread out alongside Indias largest retail brand is an added incentive.

While Reliance Retail will guide the process through their extensive knowledge of domestic market, cultural diversities and distribution network, Hamleys will provide the merchandises and also give creative direction to the whole course of action.

Reliance Retail And Big Bazaar Rope In Kirana Stores To Expand Operations

The retail sector in India has seen incredible growth over the last few years. It has seen many corporate houses that had very little experience in this sector venture in and actually achieve a good amount of success. Future Groups Big Bazaar and Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) owned Reliance Retail are two such brands. After mulling over various strategies to expand operations, the two retail giants have decided to rope in local Kirana-walas with a view widen product reach and expand their operations to newer territories.

The two brands are following different paths for the same. Mukesh Ambani owned Reliance retail are speeding up their expansion of wholesale cash-and-carry stores. On the other hand, Big Bazaar, owned by Kishore Biyanis Future Group has undertaken its Big Bazaar Direct Programme in this, Kirana Stores can become a franchisee for the big retailer.

Analysts say that this move by both the retail chains is bound to increase growth. Big organized shopping mall type stores may not be successful in small towns or villages. Hence, pushing products through these small grocery stores or Kirana Stores is highly beneficial for the brand in the long run.

At the same time, small traders remain skeptical of this move are not too optimistic on being co-opted by the big boys. Praveen Khandelwal, secretary-general, Confederation of All India Traders, was quoted as saying, Organized retailers are in the business for making profits and are least bothered of the small traders. They use predatory pricing tactics to ultimately wipe-off the smaller guys. Even their wholesale stores are nothing but retail in disguise, since they are giving membership to anyone, when it was only meant to be for traders.

Nothing seems to have deterred the people operating Reliance Retail though. The RIL owned entity which commenced operations in 2011 has opened 12 more stores in the last 10 months. And theyre not slowing down; this pace of expansion is growing. A person close to the retail chain said, We are catering to institutional consumers, hotels, resorts, cafes, catering companies etc, but kiranas are among the biggest target group.

The Reliance owned stores have also made in-roads into the wholesale store business. Its converting some of its stores into wholesale store businesses. About a million partners i.e., institutional customers have signed up for the wholesale business. Small shop owners, as well as people who own grocery stores in small towns are being part of member meetings to understand their needs. When contacted, a company spokesperson said only three stores are being converted and it will continue to expand across all formats, including retail and wholesale.

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