The evolution of India’s largest retailer: Reliance Retail


December 15, 2021 | By Zubina Ahmed

Since its inception in 2006, Reliance Retail Ventures Limited (RRVL), the retail arm of billionaire Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries Ltd has grown to become India’s largest retailer. They were recently ranked as the second fastest growing retailer in the world, according to a ranking of global retail power houses by Deloitte 2021 report. Over the last two years, Reliance Retail has made a series of topnotch acquisitions. The recent one on November 12, 2021 when MAS Holdings announced that Reliance Retail acquired 100% of the retail lingerie businesses under the ‘amante’ umbrella brand from MAS Brands, a  wholly owned subsidiary of MAS Holdings, Sri Lanka. 

The ‘amanté business’, which was established by MAS in 2007, is engaged in retail and wholesale distribution of premium lingerie under brands ‘amanté’, ‘Ultimo’ and ‘every dé by amanté’. The products are sold through company-owned stores and multi-brand outlets, as well as through its e-commerce channels across India and Sri Lanka.This new acquisition by Reliance retail will strengthen the company’s journey into retail lingerie business, by offering superior design-led products and also provide value-added products to its customers. “At Reliance, we pride ourselves in offering the best and enhancing choices to our customers. We are proud to add the high quality, design-led fashion and lifestyle brand ‘amante’ to our portfolio.”, said Isha Ambani, Director, Reliance Retail Ventures Limited.  She also added that “MAS is a well-recognized product innovator and manufacturer for some of the iconic global brands in this segment – the partnership and collaboration we build together with them will offer Indian customers world class product quality and greater choices in this segment”.

Ajay Amalean, Co-Founder, MAS who was responsible in managing amanté business mentioned, “This was a business MAS built from the ground up, leveraging on years of expertise in the lingerie business, so we are excited to see it transition to new shareholders and a parent organisation that, without doubt, will enable the brand and the company to thrive.” India’s biggest retail giant’s host of other acquisitons over the last two years include some of he biggest names in the indsutry. In August 2020, RRVL acquired a 60% stake in online pharma Netmeds for about $83.2 million. In November, it acquired online furniture startup Urban Ladder for $24.4 million.

Yet to be finalised, they entered into a $3.4 billion deal to buy out India’s second-largest retail chain, Future Group. RRVL have however extended the deadline to complete the long-pending acquisition to March 2022, as it awaits regulatory and judicial clearances. In July 2021, RRVL acquired a controlling stake in Indian search and discovery firm Just Dial for $469 million. Their latest acquisitions include India’s popular designer labels of Ritu Kumar, 7-Eleven multinational convenience stores, digital lingerie seller Zivame and online grocer MilkBasket. Besides this, Reliance Brands Ltd (RBL) also announced a 40 per cent stake in renowned in a fashion house run by popular designer, Manish Malhotra.

Multi-billion-dollar acquisitions have kept the retail industry always in headlines – be it from the likes of global giants Walmart and Amazon. As the industry has transformed, Reliance Retail has been at the forefront of bringing a retail revolution in India. With more than 150 million loyal customers buying across all its formats – Grocery, Consumer Electronics and Fashion & Lifestyle. They reported a turnover of US$ 21.6 billion for the financial year 2020-21 and as on 31st Mar 2021, they operated 12,711 stores across 7,000+ cities with a retail area of over 33.8 million sft.

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