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Sep 18, 2007 at 10:33pm IST

Reliance Retail fires first salvo, takes on Walmart

Mumbai: Walmart's aggressive sourcing from small town India has meant big bucks for Indian small and medium enterprises.

Koncherry Weavers, a company that's situated in the remote town of Allepey supplies coir and jute mats to Walmart. And that constitutes Rs 16 crore in their Rs 80 crore turnover. But now the company is looking beyond Walmart. Enter: Reliance retail.

Says CEO, Koncherry Weavers, K S Shaji, "We have started supplying to Reliance. Big stores are coming all over India. If we have to maintain the supplies and we have to bring in more mechanisation, bring down the cost and bring up the quality and I think we can get a good share in the domestic market."

JVS Exports, located in the far-flung town of Karur, is Walmart's leading supplier of kitchen towels.

It has a turnover of Rs 200 crore of which Rs 70 crore or 35 per cent comes from Walmart.

Like Koncherry Weavers, JVS Exports too is looking towards Reliance Retail for further expansion. It has struck an initial order worth Rs 5 lakh and the company is targeting to cross 2 crore in the next one year.

Says CEO, JVS Exports, M Britto Joseph, "We have just started selling to Reliance and we are in talks with Trinetra. Besides that we have also set up our Indian retail division. We have taken seven experts and will set up offices in Hyderabad, Bangalore, Chennai and Delhi to concentrate on Indian markets."

Reliance Retail is investing Rs 25,000 crore to become the biggest retail player in India.

On the other hand, Walmart has recently got approval to launch Cash-and-Carry stores in India in a tie-up with Bharti. As the two giants battle it out, Indian suppliers could well be laughing their way to the bank.

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