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Reliance to make small digital stores base for Jio experience

Digital Express, 2,000 sq ft stores that focus on mobile phones and electronic accessories, are meant to be experience stores

Raghavendra Kamath  |  Mumbai 

Reliance Jio
Reliance Jio

Of the record 231 Reliance Digital stores Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Retail opened during the December 2014 quarter, 90 per cent are smaller stores - Digital Xpress and Digital Xpress Mini. These small consumer electronics stores will serve as a base for Reliance Jio Infocomm, when it will launch fourth generation (4G) services, said an executive in the know of the company’s plans.

Digital Xpress stores are 2,000 sq ft in size with a focus on mobile phones, electronic accessories, etc. These are meant to be ‘experience stores’. Digital Xpress Mini stores are even smaller, at about 250 sq ft.

Jio is set to rollout its 4G (fourth generation) long-term evolution, or LTE, services in 800 Indian cities between April and June this year.

“They (Reliance Industries, the parent of Reliance Retail and Jio) will need a base when they rollout 4G services. They can not open hundreds of stores at one go after rolling out Jio. They plan to turn them into experience stores for Jio,” said an executive.

Reliance Retail did not respond to Business Standard’s queries on the subject.

In all, Reliance Retail opened 279 stores during the December 2014 quarter, of which 231 were for Reliance Digital.

Reliance Industries is synergising operations of Reliance Retail with Jio. Recently, Reliance Jio’s managing director Sandip Das had stepped down from the position and joined Reliance Retail’s board. Das is entrusted with the task of mentoring the Jio division at Reliance Retail.

According to reports, Reliance Industries is looking to have common executives to handle both the divisions and a common infrastructure for back-end operations.

“It is a wonderful strategy. I think they will continue to sell digital products and Jio products. These stores will also help them bring awareness about Jio,” said Rajeev Karwal, founder director at Milagrow Business and Knowledge Solutions. Karwal was the first chief executive officer of Reliance Digital.

First Published: Mon, January 26 2015. 00:46 IST