RIL’s retail arm on hiring overdrive

Reliance Retail Ventures Ltd, the group’s retail holding company, is looking to fill 60,000 junior to mid-level positions, many of them in its outlets, over the next three quarters.

The hiring plan comes at a time when the retail business has tied up with several global brands, opened new outlets and plans to open many more in the next few months.

“Reliance Industries has huge expansion plans in its retail business, which includes hiring 150-200 senior executives who will be given the rank of Vice President and above. They are being recruited from competition and global chains,” said the head of an executive search firm, who did not wish to be named.

Reliance Retail Ventures has entered into several tie-ups over the past few months. These include entity Reliance Retail Ltd, which signed a long-term franchise agreement with American apparel firm Gap Inc in July.

A month earlier, another entity, Reliance Brands Ltd, announced a strategic partnership with global fresh food and organic coffee chain Pret A Manger.

Reliance Retail operates both online and offline stores including Reliance Smart, Reliance Trends, Reliance Digital, Ajio.com and JioMart.

Reliance Brands’ existing portfolio of brand partnerships includes high-end brands including Armani Exchange, Jimmy Choo, Kate Spade New York and Manish Malhotra among others.

Earlier this year, Reliance Retail acquired India franchise rights for women’s footwear brands Catwalk and Sunglass Hut.

These plans take effect as the group, led by Chairman Mukesh Ambani, embarks on succession-planning mode.

In June, son Akash Ambani was given the reins of telecom business Reliance Jio. Daughter Isha Ambani is expected to take over the retail arm.

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“The company is also looking at various stock option schemes to attract senior talent, but no single structure has been finalised,” said the search firm executive.

Consulting firm Bain is working with the retailer’s top team, but both Reliance Retail Ventures Ltd and Bain did not respond to Mint’s queries.

A junior to middle management recruiter hired by Reliance said the company has promoted store-level hiring since the June quarter, especially in north India. Reliance Retail opened 720 stores in the quarter, taking the total number to 15,916.

As per its latest earnings announcement, Reliance Retail added over 17,000 jobs for a total of 379,000 jobs during the quarter.

“Currently, what they are hiring is on temporary or staffing level recruitment. Hence, pockets of Madhya Pradesh as well as North India employ large portions. But the bigger recruitments are from Delhi, Chandigarh, Rajasthan. around-these belts,” he said on condition of anonymity.

The recruiter said the retail business expects to see similar hiring momentum in other sectors in the coming months.

“The recruitment has started keeping in view the festive season, where contracts are signed with temporary employees for at least six months. Plus, new store openings are another reason why the numbers have gone up. They are now only going to experienced hires and freshers in certain special circumstances.” Each store requires 30-35 people in different roles.

Salary will start for the newly recruited at junior level 25,000- 30,000 per month.

“They are looking at very aggressive (hiring) numbers, and so they are getting bigger players like us, so that they can work in all the areas at once,” he said.

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Meanwhile, electronics retail chain Reliance Digital is set to add 40 stores in the next few months. A top executive of the chain said the chain has opened 26 stores since April.

Reliance Retail has begun rebranding former Big Bazaar stores into ‘Smart Bazaars’, and hundreds of such stores will welcome shoppers across the country in the coming weeks, said the person requesting anonymity.

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