New Delhi: ‘Pret A Manger’ UK-based coffee and sandwich chain is set to make its debut in India with the opening of its first shop in Mumbai on Friday. The move is part of a joint venture with a unit of Reliance Industries, owned by India’s richest man Mukesh Ambani. Pret’s CEO, Pano Christou, has stated that the brand will be adapted to local preferences and food habits while retaining its essence. The Mumbai outlet will be the first foray by Reliance Brands, the retail arm of Reliance Industries, into the country’s food and drinks industry.
Reliance Brands Managing Director, Darshan Mehta, has announced that the shops will cater to the “new Indian consumer.” The launch follows Apple’s opening of two stores in the country earlier this week. The iPhone maker’s first retail outlet in India opened in Mumbai on Tuesday, followed by a second in the capital Delhi on Thursday.
Pret A Manger was founded in London in 1983, with its first store opening in 1984. The brand was acquired by college friends Sinclair Beecham and Julian Metcalfe after the original company went into liquidation, and the first store under their ownership opened in 1986. The brand currently operates 400 outlets across nine markets, including the UK, the US, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia.
Parent company Reliance Retail announced a franchise deal with US-headquartered convenience store chain 7-Eleven in 2021, helping to establish its position as India’s largest brick-and-mortar retailer. The move into food and drinks represents a further expansion for Reliance Brands, which already operates over 2,000 outlets across India.
Pret A Manger’s entry into the Indian market reflects the growing importance of the country’s consumer sector, which has attracted a host of Western brands in recent years. With a population of over 1.3 billion and a burgeoning middle class, India offers significant potential for growth. The entry of high-profile brands such as Pret A Manger and Apple will likely spur further investment in the country’s retail sector, with other companies likely to follow suit in the coming years.