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Reliance Industries is in preliminary discussions with British fashion retailer Primark to introduce the brand to the Indian market, as per an Economic Times report. This potential move would position Reliance against competitors such as Tata’s Zudio, Max from Landmark Group, and Shoppers Stop’s new value format InTune, it added.

The 55-year-old Primark brand, known for its affordably priced clothing and shoes, has been assessing the Indian market for several years and might collaborate with Reliance through a joint venture or licensing agreement, two sources told the paper.

Once in India, most of the stores are expected to be on the high street due to the brand’s big box format, differing from global retailers that typically prioritise malls, the report added.

Primark’s Global Success

Primark has experienced significant global revenue growth in recent years, except for two Covid-affected years. The brand offers products at even lower prices than competitors such as H&M and Uniqlo.

While China is the primary source country for Primark, India ranks second in the number of factories supplying the company, a sign of the brand’s commitment to nearshoring in its supply chain strategy.

Reliance, as India’s largest retailer with multiple international brand partnerships, could provide a substantial advantage to Primark with its real estate and operational synergies, Devangshu Dutta, founder of retail consulting firm Third Eyesight told the paper.

Market Dynamics and Expansion Plans

Experts suggest that India’s consumption structure, previously skewed towards a narrow base of wealthier consumers, is now expanding opportunities for value brands. Primark, owned by Associated British Foods, aims to reach 530 outlets globally by the end of 2026, currently operating over 400 stores worldwide.

Reliance, boasting over 18,774 stores in its current portfolio including Trends and the recently launched Yousta, competes directly with fast-fashion brands such as Zara and H&M in India.

RIL did not respond to queries. A Primark spokesperson, acknowledged the brand’s openness to new opportunities, but did not comment on the India plans.

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Published: 29 Feb 2024, 11:41 AM IST

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