Marking its foray into food & beverage (F&B) retailing, Reliance Brands (RBL) on Thursday announced a strategic partnership with UK-based fresh food and organic coffee chain Pret A Manger.
Under the long-term master franchise agreement, the Indian company will launch and build the global sandwich franchise’s brand in the country, with the first expected to be opened in Mumbai before March 2023.
RBL, a subsidiary of Reliance Retail Ventures (RRVL), will open franchisees of the food chain across the country, starting with major cities and travel hubs. RRVL, in turn, is a subsidiary of Mukesh Ambani-controlled Reliance Industries (RIL). Pret is owned by investment group JAB and founder Sinclair Beecham.
“Our partnership with Pret is rooted in the strong growth potential of both Pret as a brand as also of the F&B industry in India. RBL closely follows the pulse of Indian consumers and there is an increased consciousness of what we eat: rapidly making food the new fashion. Indians, like their global counterparts, are seeking fresh and organic ingredient-led dining experiences which has been synonymous with Pret’s core offering,” RBL managing director Darshan Mehta said.
“Couple that with the high recall the brand enjoys in the country, it’s undoubtedly a recipe for success,” he added.
Pret A Manger, which means ‘ready to eat’ in French, first opened its store in London in 1986. Over the past 35 years, the brand has set up 550 shops across nine countries, including the UK, the US, Europe and Asia, and sells organic coffee, sandwiches, salads and wraps freshly made each day.
“Two decades ago, we opened Pret’s first shop in Asia and it’s been an inspiration for all of us to bring our freshly made food and 100% organic coffee to new cities across the continent. RBL is a great partner to help us do just that, bringing their years of expertise in the market to help our brand succeed in India,” Pret A Manger chief executive officer Pano Christou said.
RBL, which marked its global foray by acquiring British toy retailer Hamleys, had signed a joint venture deal to acquire a 40% stake in Italy-based Plastic Legno SpA’s toy manufacturing business in India.
RBL’s current brand partnerships comprises Armani Exchange, Bally, Bottega Veneta, Brooks Brothers, Burberry, Emporio Armani Hugo Boss, Jimmy Choo, Michael Kors, Tiffany & Co and Versace, among others. At present, RBL operates 1,937 doors-split (standalone stores) and 1,205 shop-in-shops in India.