Reliance Brands, a unit of Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries, has struck a joint venture with minimalist Japanese retailer Muji, which sells a wide array of products ranging from stationery and clothing to furniture and food, to open its stores in Ind
Reliance Brands, a unit of Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries, has struck a joint venture with minimalist Japanese retailer Muji, which sells a wide array of products ranging from stationery and clothing to furniture and food, to open its stores in India.
The first few standalone Muji stores will come up in Delhi and Mumbai by middle of next year, a Reliance Brands spokesperson told media, at a time when another Japanese brand Uniqlo chalks out its India entry. Known for its eco-friendly products with a no-frills, no-labels ethos, the $2.2-billion retailer present globally across more than 700 stores is dubbed as Japan's IKEA.
"International expansion is of utmost priority for us and India is our next big Asian market with immense growth potential. We believe there is a significant pool of cosmopolitan consumers who have their own sense of style and who place product above brand logos," said Satoru Matsuzaki, president and representative director of Ryohin Keikaku, which operates the Muji brand of stores. The 35-year-old brand targeted at urban, middle-class consumers does not put any brand labels on its products.
"Both furniture and home goods are categorized as household products by Muji, which together contribute more than half of the retailer's revenues. Health & beauty is also a key category for us," said Matsuzaki in an emailed interview with TOI. "Our signature cosmetics and skin care items are made in Japan while our stationery sales globally is outstanding," he said. In India, Muji will offer all its products through large-format standalone stores at sizes ranging from 6,000-10,000 sq ft. However, domestic regulations do not permit Reliance to open Muji cafes locally.
Darshan Mehta, president & CEO, Reliance Brands, said, "Muji is simplicity but simplicity achieved through a complexity of thought and design. Their products are extremely high-quality and have been designed to cater to the lifestyle of urban dwellers. We have great confidence that the Indian consumer will embrace the brand." Reliance Brands runs 100 standalone stores of 18 international brands in India, including the likes of Kenneth Cole, Steve Madden, Diesel, Brooks Brothers, among others. The organized Indian retail market has been a tough one to crack for most international brands because of non-availability of quality real estate as well as regulatory challenges, limiting foreign investments in front-end retail.
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