On back of sharp store expansion, gross debt for Reliance Retail has risen to `124 bn in March 2019 from `50 bn in Q2FY19.
Post the e-commerce rules, competition from online retailers remains soft for the second consecutive month especially in the apparel segment; though we saw some pickup towards the end of the month. Amidst talks of a slowdown, we do not envisage a significant impact on growth for retailers as share gains from unbranded/unorganised players will continue to support growth. Impact, if any, is expected to be temporary. ABFRL and TRENT are top picks in the space.
Competition from online retailers was soft even in the month of March as online retailers align with the new e-commerce rules. We saw some pickup in the overall promotional intensity from the online retailers but that was largely in durables led by mobile phones.
Discounting in the apparel segment was soft in the month of March. However, e-tailers have aligned with the new rules with measures such as appointing multiple sellers, re-aligning the company structure, etc. Hence, we do expect some pickup in the competition intensity from the online retailers in the coming months.
Physical retailers are benefiting from lower discounting from online retailers, and hence discounting from physical retailers also remains soft. We saw higher competitive intensity from H&M that ran its midseason sale (offered up to 50% discounts) and the retailer also partnered with Myntra and Jabong to sell its merchandise online (H&M already has its own online website). Apart from this, we saw higher intensity from Future group led by Big Bazaar (offering `3,000 vouchers on shopping of `3,000) and Brand Factory (ran flat 50% plus additional 20% off) towards the end of the month.
We are witnessing even higher aggression from Reliance Retail as seen from the increased advertisement on television for its retail formats (Reliance Digital and Ajio.com) and very strong store expansion (the company opened 18 grocery stores in one single day, 16 Reliance Smart stores and two Reliance Fresh stores, targets 2,500 Trends store in five years from 557 stores currently). Our channel checks suggest that Reliance Retail is soon coming up with its own e-commerce platform for apparel, grocery and electronics segment. On back of sharp store expansion, gross debt for Reliance Retail has risen to `124 bn in March 2019 from `50 bn in Q2FY19.