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How SupermarketWala Damodar Mall helped elevate Food Grocery Business in India

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R S Roy
R S Roy
R S Roy is the editorial advisor at IMAGES Group

Damodar Mall’s contributions go beyond the success of Reliance Retail Ltd.’s food grocery business…


The chief executive officer of Grocery Retail business of Reliance Retail Ltd. Damodar Mall (DM) is the author of the bestseller book SupermarketWala. He is the Chairman of India Food Forum and is also a Member of Board of Directors at Indian Institute of Management, BodhGaya.

Retail and consumer behaviour have been his areas of passion. Observation and ethnography are his trusted habits.

Under his leadership Reliance Retail’s grocery business has a footprint of 4000 stores across more than 1000 cities, servicing as many as 4000 pin codes. It touches about 17% of India’s population of 1.4 billion.

His Journey

If we admire the trailblazing journey of DMart today, it too has DM’s contribution—DMart’s journey began with DM launching a start-up supermarket with DMart’s current promoters as angel investors.

If today, branded mithai is gifted more than branded chocolates during Diwali, it is because team DM at SmartBazaar worked with 60 small businesses to ensure branded confectionery in India means as much as Kaju Katlee, Besan Laddoo & Pedas, as it means chocolates and candies.

If thousands of kirana shop owners want to modernise and use TRRAIN Trust’s learning and consulting platforms to succeed, it is because TRRAIN and DM created a ‘Be a SupermarketWala’ guidebook and videos in multiple languages.

Shaping retail from SmartBazaar to Freshpik, branding consumption ideas from mithai, tender coconut, batter and rotis to shaping the thinking of a generation of confident retailers in India…this has been DM’s life work.

An IITian and a gold medallist in marketing from IIM Bangalore, DM started his career with Unilever in 1986, where his first 10 years gave him a solid understanding of consumption trends, consumer goods, markets, and branding. He returned to Unilever in 2003 after four and a half years of his entrepreneurial journey as co-promoter of KoOp Consumer Services (now DMart) in between.

It was then that he headed the first phone-order supermarket, Sangam Direct, for Unilever in 2003. DM joined Kishore Biyani in 2005 and was instrumental in shaping Big Bazaar and Food Bazaar for the Future Group. DM has been with Reliance since early 2014.

His Acumen

DM’s expertise spans multiple domains, including supermarket retailing, food value chain, e-commerce, and the development of retail ventures from inception to fruition. He possesses a keen acumen for building FMCG brands in the food, home, and personal care sectors, contributing to their growth and success in the market.

Mall’s practical insights resonate across social media, blogs, podcasts, interviews, and conference sessions. Whether shared in 30 seconds or 30 minutes, his expertise cuts through complexity, offering actionable advice that inspires and empowers audiences to drive real-world results.

Don’t miss the opportunity to hear Damodar Mall at the upcoming Phygital Retail Convention. His insights are sure to enlighten and invigorate attendees, offering invaluable perspectives on navigating the dynamic landscape of retail and business.

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