The plans – which sources say will be executed within weeks – come after Reliance took over and started renaming around 200 Future’s Big Bazaar supermarkets over the weekend, and is expected to further dig Future, which has been at the center of a pitched battle between Reliance and Amazon.com Inc.
The decision over the weekend saw both online and offline supermarket operations suspended for Future, the country’s second-largest brick-and-mortar retailer.
Reliance’s move is significant because it follows failed efforts since 2020 to strike a $3.4 billion deal to acquire Future’s retail assets.
Future’s partner Amazon blocked the transaction citing breach of contracts. Future denies any wrongdoing, but a Singapore arbitrator and Indian courts have backed Amazon’s position so far.
Amazon is likely to challenge Future’s decision to transfer stores in Indian courts, a third source told Reuters.
Future, Amazon and Reliance did not respond to requests for comment. Future told exchanges on Saturday that the company was “going through an acute financial crisis” and “reducing operations” to reduce losses.
Over the months, Reliance had transferred the leases of some stores in the debt-ridden Future into its name and sublet them to Future. It is now taking possession of the stores because Future failed to make lease payments, sources told Reuters.
After taking over 200 of Future’s Big Bazaar flagship stores, Reliance now plans to take over another 250 stores in the coming weeks and rebrand them as Reliance outlets, said the sources, who declined to be commented. named because the plan is not public.
One of the sources said this could include Future’s apparel outlets “Central” and “Brand Factory.”
With the latest decision, Reliance will effectively take over the operations of around a third of Future’s 1,500 outlets in India.
Despite the store transfers, Reliance told Future, this will not change the terms of their proposed 2020 deal, one of the sources said.