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Amazon backed More Retail plans to double stores in next four years

More Retail currently owns and runs 600 eponymous supermarkets and 21 hypermarkets located across the country.

, ET Bureau|
Aug 22, 2019, 10.51 AM IST
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Agencies
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More is a seller in Amazon’s hyperlocal platform Prime Now and hence its brick-and-mortar expansion will help Amazon roll out this platform into newer cities.
KOLKATA: Samara Capital and Amazon-owned More Retail has rejigged its senior management team and plans to more than double the number of stores from 620 in next four years, since the retail chain will be critical for Amazon to expand its food and grocery hyperlocal platform Prime Now, two senior industry executives said.

Samara's founder and managing director, Sumeet Narang, has taken over as the chairman and managing director of More Retail, according to an internal email sent by Narang to employees on Tuesday and seen by ET. The post was vacant after Pranab Barua decided to stay back with the Aditya Birla Group after the conglomerate sold the retail chain.

Mohit Kampani, who was the chief executive, is now made the deputy MD and CEO for the hypermarket business, while Sashi Gumma, who was the chief operating officer, is the new CEO for the supermarkets format. Gumma will also spearhead the Fresh business, which will be made part of its hypermarkets and supermarkets and sell fruits and vegetables, fish, meat and egg. Both of them will report to Narang, as per the email communication.

An email sent to Samara Capital seeking comment remained unanswered.

More Retail currently owns and runs 600 eponymous supermarkets and 21 hypermarkets located across the country.

The two executives said the company’s top brass informed its management team in a townhall held on Tuesday that More would rapidly expand the store network which included doubling the store count in next four years now that it was debt free. The business earlier had around Rs 4,000 crore debt on its books.

“More is a seller in Amazon’s hyperlocal platform Prime Now and hence its brick-and-mortar expansion will help Amazon roll out this platform into newer cities. That apart, the expansion had slowed down in the last 2-3 years due to huge debt which is now wiped off after the acquisition by the new promoters,” an industry executive said.

Amazon’s Prime Now assures two-hour delivery of food and grocery, apart from a few other products, and is currently operational in Bengaluru, Delhi-NCR, Mumbai and Hyderabad.

More Retail (earlier named Aditya Birla Retail) was last year acquired by Samara Capital through Witzig Advisory Services from the Aditya Birla Group for about Rs 4,200 crore.

Amazon subsequently acquired a 49% stake in Witzig Advisory with 17% stake purchased through Class A shares which have voting rights and the rest 32% through Class B shares which have no voting rights. The deal was structured this way to make it compliant with the foreign direct investment rules in ecommerce whereby More can remain a seller in Amazon’s India marketplace.

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