Reliance Retail to launch 7-Eleven stores in India after Future’s exit

Reliance Industries Ltd’s (RELI.NS) retail arm said on Thursday it would roll out 7-Eleven Inc convenience stores in India, days after Future Retail Ltd (FRTL.NS) ended a similar deal with the U.S. chain.

Reliance Retail Ventures Ltd will open the first 7-Eleven round-the-clock convenience store in a neighbourhood in India’s financial capital of Mumbai on Oct. 9.

The deal marks the latest by the Reliance Group, led by billionaire Mukesh Ambani, to rapidly expand its retail and e-commerce businesses to better compete with Amazon.com (AMZN.O) and Walmart Inc’s (WMT.N) Flipkart in India’s nearly trillion-dollar retail market.

The oil-to-telecoms conglomerate’s $3.4 billion deal for the retail assets of Future Group has been stalled following Amazon’s legal challenge.

Irving, Texas-based 7-Eleven Inc, known for its iconic products including the Slurpee, operates and franchises more than 77,000 stores in 18 countries and regions.

Future Retail said on Tuesday it had mutually terminated an agreement with 7-Eleven as the companies were not able to meet targets of opening stores and paying franchisee fees.

In 2019, Future Retail – India’s second-largest retailer with more than 1,700 stores, including the popular Big Bazaar supermarkets and local chains Food Hall and Nilgiris – had said it plans to set up 7-Eleven stores from scratch and convert some of its existing operations into the U.S. brand.

The unit formed to run 7-Eleven stores in India had reported a loss of 173 million rupees without opening any stores, Future Retail’s annual report showed.

Reliance’s shares rose 1.22% in morning trade, while Future Retail stock gained 3.7% in a strong market.