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Anil Ambani group to foray into mobile retail

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As though facing opposition from small traders is not enough, Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Retail now has to face a battle against brother Anil Dhirubhai Ambani group who has chalked out plans to go into what is described as Mobi-Retail.

Under this scheme, the younger Ambani will offer estimated 35 million subscribers of Reliance Communications the benefit of purchasing through mobiles 100,000 products ranging from fresh vegetables to groceries, readymade garments, toys and electronics, say media reports.

These products could be delivered at the consumer’s home or be picked up from a delivery point. The group will leverage over 300,000 outlets in 10,000 towns in formats like Reliance World, Reliance World Express, Reliance Money, Reliance Insurance, Big Flicks, and Adlabs as the delivery points.

An expert group has been formed and sources indicated that the group hopes to make it operational in the first quarter of 2008.

The group has targeted a turnover of over Rs 4,000 crore (Rs 40 billion) from this venture in the first year itself.

Reliance Communications is working on creating an easy menu on the phone (for both CDMA and GSM customers) and has already started initial testing.

The company is eyeing over 10 million square feet of mobile screen space.
The investment needed for such a format of retailing could be 80 per cent lower than a brick and mortar retailing model. As a result, net margins are expected to be much higher in such a model.

The company has already started talks with suppliers to create a pan-Indian vendor base though the experience of mobi-retail may not be the same as going to a mall.

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