As Reliance Industries has stepped in to take operational charges of Future Group’s retail stores, the employees, vendors, suppliers and landlords of stores welcome the move. The retail arm of Reliance Industries is in the process of transferring 30,000 employees of Future Retail and Future Lifestyle, according to sources. It has also taken over around 200 Future Group store that are now being rebranded as Reliance stores, the sources added. Both the employees and store owners have hailed the move, according to news agency ANI.
The cash-strapped Future Group has been finding it difficult to finance the working capital needs. In a regulatory filing on February 26, Kishore Biayni-led group said, “Increasing losses at store level are a grave concern and is a vicious cycle where larger operations are leading to higher losses.”
Several landlords had started to terminate the lease agreements with the Future Group due to huge outstanding dues. The company mentioned in the filing that it would no longer have access to such store premises. “The company is scaling down its operations which will help us in reducing losses in the coming months. The company is proposing to expand its online and home delivery business, to increase its reach to the customers,” Future Group said in the filing. It has over 1,700 stores across various brands, which include Big Bazaar, fbb, and Central.
With Reliance Industries taking over the charges of these shops, landlords are relieved. While employees are hopeful that they will get timely salary, landlords expect timely payment for their leased properties. Pankaj Bansal, a former landlord of Easy Day Mart, told news agency ANI, “It is obvious to face hardships when you do not receive salary for months. Employees were sometimes receiving partial salaries. They were facing troubles. With Reliance taking over, which is a strong group, employees will receive salary on time.”
Similarly, the vendors and suppliers expressed their relief as their due payments have been released. Their business has been hugely impacted by cash crunch and ongoing tussle between Future Group and e-commerce giant Amazon. They are looking forward to a positive future and sustainable prospect as Reliance Industries takes charge, mentioned ANI.
Shami Thakur, managing partner of Ambesten Marketing Solutions, told ANI, “It will be good for everyone including the employees and retail sector. It will open up new opportunities. The problems with payments will be solved.”
He further added, “It was a big challenge. There were pending dues for seven years. Reliance is a big player in the industry. The money will be recovered with its entry.”
Reliance Industries has so far incurred an expense of over Rs 1,500 crore towards payment of dues, according to Moneycontrol.
In August 2020, Future Group agreed to transfer its retail and logistics business to Reliance Retail Ventures Ltd (RRVL) for an aggregate consideration of Rs 24,713 crore. At that time, Future Group’s amount outstanding to the creditors and the landlords exceeded a staggering Rs 6,000 crore. Amazon, then, initiated a litigation against the Future-Reliance deal. Future and Amazon are stiil engage in a bitter battle over the sale of Future’s retail business.
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