- By Peter Hoskins
- business reporter
UK-based coffee and sandwich chain Pret A Manger will become the latest popular western brand to launch in the Indian market.
The company will open its first store in India’s financial hub Mumbai on Friday.
Last year, Pret said it was partnering with a unit of Reliance Industries, owned by India’s richest man Mukesh Ambani.
It comes in the same week that US tech giant Apple opened its first two stores in the country.
Pret’s chief executive officer, Pano Christou, said the offering in the country would reflect the company’s brand “while adapting to local tastes and eating habits”.
It marks the first venture by Reliance Brands, which also owns India’s largest retail chain, into the country’s burgeoning food and beverage industry.
Reliance says its first store is a recreation of Pret’s UK stores.
The stores will be aimed at “new Indian consumers”, said Darshan Mehta, chief executive officer of Reliance Brands.
The opening of a store in the financial center of Mumbai on Tuesday was followed by a second store in the capital Delhi on Thursday.
Pret A Manger, which means “ready to eat” in French, was founded in London in 1983, with the first store opening the following year.
After the original company dissolved, the brand was acquired by college friends Sinclair Beecham and Julian Metcalfe, with the first store opening in 1986.
The brand now has 400 stores worldwide, in 9 markets including UK, US, Europe, Middle East and Asia.
Reliance Brands operates more than 2,000 stores across India.
This deal strengthens Reliance’s position as India’s largest brick-and-mortar retailer.
Who is Mukesh Ambani?
Mr Ambani has a personal fortune of about $84 billion (£67.5 billion), according to Forbes magazine.
His late 65-year-old father Dhirubhai Ambani founded a textile manufacturer that later became Reliance Industries.
It is currently one of India’s largest conglomerates – with businesses including petrochemicals, oil and gas, telecommunications and retail.
Mr. Ambani is the chairman of Reliance Industries. The Ambani family has a 49% stake in the company.
This family also owns assets in the UK worth tens of millions of pounds.
Two years later, Reliance bought historic English country club Stoke Park for £57 million.