The 7-India Convenience Retail Limited, a fully-owned subsidiary of Reliance Retail Ventures Limited (RRVL), has inked an agreement with US-headquartered 7-Eleven, Inc (SEI) for the launch of 7-Eleven convenience stores in India.
The first 7-Eleven convenience store will open in Andheri East, Mumbai, on October 9. Subsequently, several such stores would be launched in key neighbourhoods and commercial areas, across Greater Mumbai.
These convenience stores will sell beverages, snacks, delicacies specifically curated to appeal to local tastes, small personal care goods, and other items of daily use. The stores would lay special emphasis on affordability and hygiene, according to RRVL's communique.
Isha Ambani, RRVL Director, said, "7-Eleven is among the most iconic global brands in the convenience retail landscape. The new pathways we build together with SEI will offer Indian customers greater convenience and choices within their own neighbourhoods.”
In a similar vein, Joe DePinto, SEI President and Chief Executive Officer, said, “Our strategic relationship with RRVL will bring 7-Eleven’s brand of convenient products and services to millions of Indian consumers starting in the city of Mumbai.
”The development comes on the heels of SEI mutually terminating its agreement with debt-ridden Future Retail to open small-format shops across India’s top cities. In an official statement, Future Retail disclosed that the agreement was terminated with mutual consent "as Future7-India Convenience Limited could not meet store opening targets and pay franchise fees".
Earlier in February 2019, home-grown Future Retail had entered into a master franchise agreement with SEI to develop and operate 7-Eleven stores in India. However, the plan to open the first Future7-India Convenience Limited store in the first half of 2020 was shelved due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Meanwhile, Kishore Biyani-led Future Group has sold off its retail, wholesale, and other assets to RRVL to pay its debt. The Rs 24,713 crore deal, however, has been stuck in a legal tussle between the Future Group and online retailer Amazon, a shareholder in Future Retail.
On the other hand, SEI, the world’s largest convenience store chain, is bullish on its India prospects. “India is the second-largest country in the world and has one of the fastest-growing economies. It’s an ideal time for the largest convenience retailer in the world to make our entry into India,” said DePinto. Owned by a Japanese firm, SEI operates, franchises, and licenses more than 77,000 stores in 17 countries.