The aim is to build a network of stores that can be leveraged in alliance with eCommerce companies for the multichannel sale of food and groceries, according to the Economic Times.
Should a deal materialise, it will be Future Group’s fourth acquisition of a food and grocery chain in less than five years. With Big Apple, Nilgiri’s and Bharti Retail it has created an entity that runs 738 retail stores across 221 cities.
ABRL, the fourth-largest supermarket chain in India after Future Group, Reliance Retail and D’Mart, has about 500 stores. Its core focus in retail is in the apparel segment with such brands as Allen Solly and Van Heusen. A year ago, the group restructured its retail business by carving out apparel maker Madura Fashion & Lifestyle division from Aditya Birla Nuvo and merging it with Pantaloon Fashion & Retail.
The Future Group has its own food brands, including Golden Harvest, Sunkist and Tasty Treat.
In India, food and grocery accounts for nearly half the overall retail basket. Online penetration in this segment is still less than 1 per cent, and a Morgan Stanley report says this figure is estimated to rise to 4 per cent by 2020, touching gross merchandise value of $19 billion, making it the largest category after electronics and apparel.