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Excl: Reliance Brands may open e-stores early next year

Reliance Brands Limited, a part Reliance Industries' retail arm Reliance Retail, is scripting plans to expand its footprints in the e-commerce space. The firm, which operates in partnership with various lifestyle brands to market and sell the products in India either through a joint venture or through brand licences, is looking to open separate e-stores for Indian market for those brands, two sources privy to the development told Vccircle.com.

One source said Reliance Brands will foray into e-commerce play by early next year. However, unlike other lifestyle focused e-commerce firms, Reliance Brands will look at separate mono-brand stores for each of them, which would provide consumers an extra channel to buy the products besides the offline stores, the source said. Reliance Brands has partnerships with various brands including Diesel, Quicksilver, Timberland, Brooks Brothers and Superdry.

Another source said, "Some of these brands are already available in horizontal e-commerce site in India. But these mono-stores will may it more focused affair."

A detailed e-mail query sent to Reliance Industries' spokesperson did not elicit any response.

Reliance Retail is one of the top physical organised retailers in the country, with various formats and retail brands such as Reliance Fresh, Reliance Digital, Reliance Jewels, Reliance TimeOut, Reliance Trends.

One of the sources said Reliance Retail's other offline stores are also planning to have e-commerce platform.

Some of its key like Future Group and Tatas (Croma in electronics retailing) lready have e-commerce stores as an extension of their offline stores.

Despite the financial muscle of Reliance Industries, which typically picks new business projects on a large scale, its e-com play is being seen as an extension of the physical retail business rather than a business on its own. The group is in the process of building a large presence in digital media, though, with 4G technology. It has also been looking to get tie-ups and buyouts of digital content firms to strengthen its impending 4G services launch in India.

(Edited by Prem Udayabhanu)

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