Asia's richest man Ambani to bring 7-Eleven stores to India's billion-plus market

Tycoon Mukesh Ambani's Reliance Retail will open India's first 7-Eleven store in a Mumbai suburb on Oct 9, 2021. PHOTO: SHIN MIN DAILY NEWS

MUMBAI (BLOOMBERG) - Mr Mukesh Ambani, Asia's richest man, will bring 7-Eleven's convenience stores to India, adding to his burgeoning retail empire in the world's only one billion-plus consumer market that is open to foreign firms.

Mr Ambani's Reliance Retail secured the pact just days after troubled supermarket operator Future Retail terminated its own agreement with one of the world's biggest convenience chains.

The first 7-Eleven store will open on Saturday (Oct 9) in a Mumbai suburb, and will be followed by a further "rapid roll-out" starting across India's financial hub, Reliance said in a statement on Thursday, without providing financial details.

Reliance scooped the transaction after indebted Future Retail this week said it had ended the agreement with 7-Eleven.

Future Retail, which inked the deal with 7-Eleven in 2019 by mutual consent, was unable to open the brand's stores or pay franchisee fees.

Mr Ambani is locked in a bitter court battle with for the assets of Future Retail, which is one of the biggest brick-and-mortar chains in India.

The move is part of the powerful tycoon's wider ambition to seize India's growing formalised retail space.

Reliance is expanding its foothold at a rapid rate, adding 1,500 new stores last year to a total of nearly 13,000, Mr Ambani said at a shareholders meeting in June.

"India is the second-largest country in the world and has one of the fastest-growing economies," 7-Eleven's president and chief executive Joe DePinto said in the statement. "It's an ideal time for the largest convenience retailer in the world to make our entry into India."

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