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Sep, 01 2006

Reliance sees Thailand as procurement hub

Mukesh Ambani\\\\\\\'s Reliance Industries group, which is giving the final touches to its mega retail sector foray, is planning to roll out multiplexes in its bigger malls across the country.

If the Reliance Industries group creates its own brand of multiplexes, it will be in direct competition with the Anil Ambani group's Adlabs Films in the same business. Reliance will kick off the retail venture with its first mall in Ahmedabad, on the SG Highway, by Diwali this year. That will be followed by one mall each in Surat and Jamnagarwhere Reliance has its petroleum refinery. The company is planning to set up at least 30 malls spread across 25 cities in Gujarat in the next couple of years. It has already acquired a mill land in old Ahmedabad for the second mall.

What's more, in addition to its chain of malls and supermarkets (several supermarkets are planned in Gujarat), Reliance is also planning to set up speciality stores which will sell farm products including vegetables and fruits. In its first foray into speciality stores, it is going to set up around 35 outlets specifically for vegetables and fruits in Ahmedabad city alone. These outlets will be around 2,000 sq.ft in size and will be taken on leased-rental basis. A state and national level logistics and sourcing system is being put in place for sourcing and transporting vegetables and fruits.

Reliance is still considering whether to enter the multiplex arena on its own, or through a tie-up with one of the existing chains. As some of its malls have significantly large space available, the company has now decided to set up multiplexes as well as food-courts to attract more customers.

Reliance is investing Rs 100 crore in the 2 lakh sq.ft Iscon Mall coming up on SG Highway. Another Rs 75 crore is going to be spent on the Shahibaug mill-mall which is spread over 2.6 lakh sq.ft. The company may consider setting up a multiplex at this mall. A smaller mall is also coming up on CG Road with an investment of Rs 55 crore.

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