One-and-a-half years after signing a joint venture (JV) with Italy's Diesel, Reliance Brands, part of Mukesh Ambani's Reliance Retail, is set to open the first Diesel store in the country, in March.
Diesel is a top name in apparel and related personal consumer products. Headquartered in Molvena, northern Italy, it has presence in 80 countries, with 5,000 points of sale and more than 300 single-brand stores.
Reliance Brands is set to open five Diesel stores between March and June, with Mumbai having the first flagship store of 8,000 sq ft, said a top executive. The other stores are set to open in Mumbai, Delhi, Hyderabad and Bangalore.
In all, Diesel Fashion India Reliance, a 51:49 JV between Diesel and Reliance Brands, plans to open 15 stores in the next three years, said Darshan Mehta, chief executive of Reliance Brands.
He declined to share the investment and expected revenue numbers. Diesel entered into the JV with Reliance in October 2008, after it ended a tie-up with Lalbhai group's Arvind Brands in June that year.
Sources in Reliance Industries, the parent company of Reliance Retail, said the company was planning to invest Rs 800 crore in retail JVs by FY 2011 and that would double by FY 2012.
“We waited all this long as times were bad and rents were falling. Since we had to enter in nine-year leases, we waited patiently to open stores,'' said Mehta.
The company has planned to launch the marketing campaign on Diesel's 'Be Stupid' theme, he said.
Mehta added that the company intended to open the first Paul & Shark store in DLF Emporio in Delhi by June. By spring-summer 2011, Reliance Brands planned to open four more stores in Delhi, Bangalore and Mumbai, he said.