Reliance to bring 7-Eleven convenience stores in India
The first 7-Eleven store will open on October 9 in Andheri, a western suburb of Mumbai. This will be followed by a rapid rollout in key neighborhoods and commercial areas, across the Greater Mumbai cluster to begin with, the company said. The launch of 7-Eleven stores will be through RRVL wholly owned subsidiary, 7-India Convenience Retail Limited.
“At Reliance, we pride ourselves in offering the best to our customers and we are proud to bring 7-Eleven, the globally trusted convenience store, to India. 7-Eleven is among the most iconic global brands in the convenience retail landscape. The new pathways we build together with SEI will offer Indian customers greater convenience and choices within their own neighborhoods,” Isha Ambani, Director, Reliance Retail Ventures Limited, said in a statement
The Japanese-owned, US-headquartered 7-Eleven at a group level has over 92,000 7-Eleven stores and other retail formats. Globally, corner shops including 7-Eleven in Japan, Taiwan, Thailand and Singapore, Lawson in Japan and Oxxo in Mexico are among the largest retailers in their respective markets, reflecting the growing business of small outlets in several countries despite the presence of international supermarket and hypermarket chains.
“India is the second largest country in the world and has one of the fastest-growing economies. It’s an ideal time for the largest convenience retailer in the world to make our entry into India” said SEI President and chief executive officer Joe DePinto. “Our strategic relationship with Reliance Retail Ventures will bring 7-Eleven’s brand of convenient products and services to millions of Indian consumers starting in the city of Mumbai.”
Future Retail had partnered SEI in February 2019 and then said they will open their small format stores starting with Mumbai in 2019 and also convert some of its other convenience stores, Nilgiri’s and EasyDay, to the new brand. The stores were pitched against round-the-clock convenience store chain Twenty Four Seven, promoted by Modi Enterprises, and In & Out, which is run by state-owned Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd.
However, Covid-led restrictions and rising debt derailed the plans. Biyani, who used aggressive pricing to attract middle-class Indian consumers to his stores—Big Bazaar, Central and Brand Factory—saw his companies being burdened with a net debt of Rs 12,989 crore with the entire shareholding of the promoters being pledged with lenders by March 2020.
In August last year, Reliance Retail Ventures agreed to buy Future Group retail assets on a slump sale basis for about Rs 25,000 crore. That deal has still not been completed because US-based Amazon, which owns 49% in group promoter firm Future Coupons, objected to the deal and approached an arbitration court in Singapore, which said the transaction should be suspended pending a final decision.