NEW DELHI: Future Group’s flagship retail chain Big Bazaar, which was facing an acute inventory crunch as a result of non-payment or late payment of dues to suppliers, has received a fresh lease of life, due to Reliance Industries’s (RIL’s) JioMart. JioMart, a part of RIL’s retail arm Reliance Retail, has stepped in to help the brick-and-mortar retail chain with fresh stock. A purchase order has been signed last week and goods from Reliance Retail are set to replenish shelves at Big Bazaar stores across India, sources said.
The move comes at a time when Kishore Biyani-led Future Group is locked in a bitter legal feud with Seattle-headquartered Amazon over the sale of its retail and wholesale assets, including 1,550 Big Bazaar stores, to RIL for around Rs 24,700 crore. “RIL’s move to bail out Big Bazaar exudes the confidence both companies have in closing the deal despite Amazon’s legal moves against it,” said a person familiar with the development. While Future Group did not comment on this matter, an RIL spokesperson, too, did not respond to an emailed query.
Amazon, which owns 49% stake in one of Future Group’s unlisted companies — Future Coupons — claimed that the deal that was announced in August violated contractual agreements between the e-tailer and Biyani’s conglomerate, which operates several retail chains across India, including, FBB, Foodhall, EasyDay and WHSmith apart from Big Bazaar. “Future Group has started talking to its old suppliers, too, apart from taking supplies from JioMart,” said a person close to Future Group. “But Amazon’s legal proceedings have complicated things further for its lenders.”
Future Retail on Saturday filed a suit in the Delhi high court seeking relief against Amazon from interfering in the deal. Future argued that Amazon was “misusing” the interim award passed by the emergency arbitrator of the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) in October that has put the RIL-Future deal on hold.
Source From : Times Of India