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Reliance Retail to come up with value apparel retail stores in tier 2, 3 towns

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Reliance Retail will come up with value apparel retail stores in tier 2, 3 and below towns under the Fashion World by Trends banner in its first major foray into rural and small towns, two industry executives said.

This will also be the first store format which the country’s largest retailer will expand primarily through the franchisee model. The company will set up over 500 such stores in direct competition with the likes of rural and small-town focused chains like V-Mart Retail, the executives said.

At present, Reliance Retail has a presence in smaller towns through the existing formats in apparel, grocery, electronics and telecom connectivity, but this is the first time they are setting up a dedicated format for small markets and expand it further into rural areas.

Reliance has already set up five Fashion World by Trends stores in places like Siliguri, Dhule and Aurangabad. These stores are set up over 5,000 square feet, while its largest apparel retail format, Trends, are set up over 8,000 to 24,000 sq ft.

While Reliance has expanded some of the 2,600-odd Trends stores in smaller towns, the merchandise mix of Fashion World by Trends will be largely different, customized for each market and will have more entry level price options to get first time branded and readymade apparel buyers to the stores, the executives said.

An email sent to Reliance Retail remained unanswered till Thursday press time.“Reliance will set up 20 Fashion World by Trends stores by this month and over 100 stores in a year. These will be set up mostly in towns where Trends stores are not present. Some cities may have potential for more than one such store,” one of the executives said.Another executive said less than one lakh population towns will be the core of the expansion of these outlets. “The range will comprise ethnic wear, kids wear, men’s and womenswear from national value brands and Reliance owned apparel brands,” he said.

Reliance Retail is the country’s largest apparel retailer with over 4,000 stores across multiple brands. While the Trends brand is the largest fashion retail chain, it has recently launched new formats like Azorte, which is into high street fashion, and youth-centric fashion at Yousta and Centro departmental stores.

One of the executives said this new store format expansion primarily through the franchisee route will help Reliance also expand its business-to-business play in branded apparel. “They can convert existing apparel retailers to become Fashion World by Trends stores and then supply them through the B2B distribution channel,” he said.

Reliance Retail has recently launched more than 50 exclusive apparel brands to be distributed and sold through the B2B channel with plans to increase the number 2-3 times shortly as part of its latest strategy to expand the fashion business through newer vectors such as third-party distribution.

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