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Amazon deepens its partnership with India’s Future Retail

There will be synergies in their online and offline capabilities in sectors such as grocery, beauty, and fashion.

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Amazon India and Future Retail Monday announced they have entered a long-term agreement for deeper synergies of their respective online and offline capabilities at a time when Reliance Industries—India’s largest company by market cap—has also announced its foray into online retail with JioMart.

The long-term deal between the Indian arm of US-based online retailer Amazon and Mumbai-based Future Retail will make Amazon.in the authorized online sales channel for Future Retail which operates around 1500 stores across 40 cities.

“This arrangement will now build on the robust offline and online capabilities of both organizations, creating significant value for customers,” the companies said in a joint statement.

To begin with, the companies said, they will focus on general merchandise, fashion, beauty products, and grocery—a segment Amazon India has been long trying its hands on. Future Retail will make its grocery products available on Prime Now—Amazon’s two-hour grocery delivery platform which is available in four Indian cities including New Delhi, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, and Mumbai.

Future Retail operates department and grocery chain stores BigBazaar and an up-market food store-chain FoodHall, among several other brands—which collectively attracts over 350 million footfalls a year.

“Future Retail’s national footprint of stores offering thousands of products across fashion, appliances, home, kitchen, and grocery will now be available to millions of customers shopping on Amazon.in, in hours across 25+ cities,” said Amit Agarwal, senior vice-president and country head of Amazon India, in a statement.

As per the agreement, Future Retail’s outlets will be equipped to facilitate quick and seamless packaging and pickup of products ordered on Amazon’s website and app. Both the companies said they have already launched this service across 22 stores and the results have been encouraging, and a wider scale-up is underway.

Amazon India will also provide a distribution platform to the in-house brands of Future Consumer, a part of Future Retail, that sells products in categories such as food, personal and home care, as well as beauty products. Future Consumer’s brands are currently available at channels including general trade, digital platforms, and modern retail, the company said.

Kishore Biyani, chairman and managing director of Future Retail, said, “This arrangement will allow us to build upon each other’s strengths in the physical and digital space so that customers benefit from the best services, products, assortment, and price.”

This partnership between the two has seen the light of the day months after Amazon bought a 49% stake in Future Coupons, a group entity of the conglomerate, which owns 7.3% of Future Group’s retail venture, Future Retail. The arrangement gives Amazon India a stake of about 3.6% in Future Retail.