Meeting retail space target a challenge: Reliance Retail

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Bangalore, Nov 15 (UNI) Faced with the stiff opposition from traders over the opening of Reliance fresh outlets, Mukesh-Ambani owned-Reliance Retail Ltd today said it will be a challenge to meet its target of 100 million square feet of retail space by 2010-11.

''It's a tough challenge at this point of time but we certainly think we would make a good go at it,'' company's president and chief executive Bijou Kurien told reporters here.

The period from 2008 to 2010 will be critical for us in terms of property addition, he added.

Reliance Retail has been at the receiving end of people opposing the entry of firms in retail in many states, including Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Kerala, Jharkhand and West Bengal.

Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mayawati had ordered closure of Reliance Fresh stores pending a state government study to gauge the impact of modern retailers on the unorganised businesses.

''The farmers do not need convincing. It is only a certain portion of the intermediaries who are against our concept,'' said Mr Kurien.

Going ahead, Mr Kurien said speciality stores will be important only in the top-end cities. ''The economic opportunity for speciality stores only exists in the 50-100 top-end cities.

However, the all under roof concept like the Reliance Mart can be opened even in tier II and III cities,'' he added.

At present, Reliance Retail runs more than 300 stores across the country in seven formats including Reliance Fresh (neighbourhood small convenience stores selling fresh vegetables and fruit, besides some grocery), Reliance Mart (hypermarket), Reliance Digital (consumer electronic), Reliance Trends (fashion apparel), Reliance Wellness, Reliance Footprint, and newly added Reliance Jewel.

The company has earmarked an investment of Rs 25,000 crore for rollout of its retail venture over the next three to five years.

UNI

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