With BP as ally, Reliance Industries wants to dominate the highway retail market

Reliance BP Mobility, the fuel marketing joint venture of and UK’s BP, is planning to open retail outlets including convenience stores and food joints at a number of its fuel stations, mainly along the highways.

Reliance Retail will operate these outlets, including its Smart Point convenience stores, digital stores, charging points for electric vehicles, cafés and other food and beverages outlets, people familiar with the matter said. The company is also talking other food and beverage chains to open outlets at its properties, the people said.

The move is aimed at tapping into the growing concept of highway retailing in India and to leverage its properties, they said.

“Retail development will only happen in petrol pumps where retailing is feasible, and on the highways,” said one of the people.

Reliance Retail and Reliance BP did not respond to an email seeking comment.

Development of world-class highways and the growing number of Indians taking road trips have opened new opportunities for highway retailing in India, market watchers said.

Property consultant Knight Frank said India’s highway retailing of food and beverages would offer a $2.7 billion opportunity by 2030.

India’s road network of 5.8 million kilometres in 2017 was only second to the US, Knight Frank said in a report last year. “The existing road infrastructure presents a substantial modern retail potential in India, especially in food and beverage,” it said.

Reliance had already tried its hands on highway retailing some years ago with food and beverage outlets on many of its petrol pumps, but the concept did not take off at that time.

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“Now they are reviving it big time,” said a second person.

Others are also taking initiatives to club retailing options with fuel stations along India’s highways.

Singapore-based Cube Highways has tied up with

, the country’s second largest fuel retailer, to open branded food outlets, convenience shops and toilets facilities at petrol pumps.

Reliance BP aims to expand its fuel retailing network to 5,500 over the next five years from about 1,400 stations at present.



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