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New Delhi: A favourable demographic profile, increasing per capita incomes, rising aspirations and greater internet access suggest a promising outlook for India's retail sector, Reliance Industries (RIL) said in its FY23 annual report released Sunday. RIL operates the country’s largest retail operations.

Fiscal 2023 saw Reliance Retail cross the 1 billion transactions mark. The company's revenue from operations grew 30.4% year-on-year to touch 2,30,951 crore in fiscal 2023, up from 1,74,993 crore in FY22. EBITDA reported a 44.7% jump led by broad-based growth across consumption baskets, RIL said in its annual report. 

Digital commerce and new commerce businesses contributed to 18% of revenue in FY 2022-23—in the previous fiscal, digital commerce contributed to nearly 17% of revenues. 

The retail business added over 3,300 new stores during the financial year, taking the store count to 18,040 stores pan-India.

Interestingly, in FY23 the number of on-roll retail employees stood at 245,581; in the previous year, the number of on-roll, off-roll and third party personnel in the retail business stood at 361,000.

Emerging organised retail formats, digital and technological advancements, the ongoing trend of urbanisation and greater access to financing are changing the consumption landscape, the company said. “With per capita GDP surpassing the critical $2,000 threshold, consumer discretionary spending is likely to trend upward, and these trends together suggest a promising outlook for the Indian retail sector. Reliance Retail with its industry leading store network and emerging digital platforms, investments across the consumption value chain and its track record of strong execution, is well poised to lead the industry in the coming decade," RIL said, commenting on the future outlook of the retail business.

To be sure, Reliance Retail operates stores straddling categories such as electronics, fashion apparel, beauty, grocery, footwear, food, jewellery, toys, e-commerce as well as luxury and lifestyle. Reliance Retail also serves as the master distributor for Jio connectivity services, which are sold through a network of MyJio and Digital stores. Its e-commerce platforms include Ajio, Netmeds, Milkbasket, and JioMart. It is the largest retailer in the country.

“Our stores now cover 65.6 million sq. ft of store area, which is more than 50% growth of retail space as compared to the previous year. Footfalls increased by 50% from last year to 780 million. The registered customer base also grew to 249 million, establishing Reliance Retail as the preferred shopping venue of Indian citizens across formats," the company said.

During the year, Reliance Retail entered the beauty category with the launch of “Tira" stores and an e-commerce site. The business also expanded its product basket through acquisitions and partnerships—for instance, Reliance Retail acquired the wholesale business of German retailer Metro in India. The acquisition of Metro Cash & Carry adds uniquely positioned multi-category large format stores to Reliance Retail’s store footprint across India and strengthens its new commerce business, the company said.

During the year, the company also opened stores for brands such as Gap and Pret A Manger through its associations with global brands. The company is also swiftly building its consumer goods vertical—Reliance Consumer Products Ltd—with investments in brands such as Campa Cola, Lotus, Sosyo, Maliban, Toffeeman, apart from the launch of its own Independence brand of staples. These businesses will be ramped up progressively in the coming period, the company said.

“Through digital brands like Ajio and Netmeds, digital commerce is scaling up at a rapid pace and is contributing to the strong growth of retail segment. The launch of JioMart on WhatsApp is a truly novel initiative which combines online shopping experience with the simplicity of instant chat services. Growth in new commerce business has been fast paced with rapid expansion of its merchant partner network," it said.

Reliance Retail is the largest grocery retailer in the country and operates multiple formats of Reliance Smart Superstore, Smart Point, Smart Bazaar, Fresh Signature, Freshpik and 7-Eleven stores.

Meanwhile, the company boosted its supply chain infrastructure with the addition of 12.6 million sq. ft of warehouse space during the year. The retail segment continued to innovate, launch and scale up new retail formats to serve diverse customer segments. New format launches during the year included Smart Bazaar, Azorte, Centro, Fashion Factory and Portico, it said.



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