Reliance Retail on Sunday announced entering into a joint venture with a Haryana-based firm for local manufacturing of toys to meet the growing demand, the company stated.
The brand currently owns iconic British toy brand Hamleys and home-grown toy brand Rowan. Reliance Retail has entered into a joint venture with Sonipat, Haryana-based Circle E Retail to vertically integrate its toy business.
“We also had a JV with Circle E retail for toy manufacturing for vertical integration for our toys retailing business,” reported PTI, citing Reliance Retail CFODinesh Taluja during an earnings call last week.
The company is now working on a strategy of integrating processes from design to shelf, according to industry sources.
Under this, Reliance Retail would have control over the entire aspects of the toy ecosystem, right from designing and manufacturing to retailing of the product. This will also help Reliance reduce dependency on third-party manufacturers in phases.
This new venture will cater for both the toys brands – Hamleys and Rowan, which Reliance Retail owns, the sources added. Besides, Reliance Retail is a major player in the B2B toy segment, where it operates through Rowan.
Circle E Retail has a specialisation in toy manufacturing. It has a modern manufacturing unit in Haryana and has a licence to manufacture and distribute a wide range of toys.
An e-mail sent to Reliance regarding the development remained unanswered at the time of filing of the story.
Last year, Reliance Retail expanded its brand Rowan from the B2B wholesale to the normal retail market also. The idea was to tap the fast-growing affordable branded toy market with smaller shop floors.
Reliance Retail acquired Hamleys, the world’s oldest toy retailer, in 2019. This was the first acquisition of a global retail brand by Reliance Retail.
Hamleys currently has a global footprint in over 15 countries. In India, Hamleys is the largest chain of toy stores operating 100+ stores in 36 cities . In June 2022, Reliance Brands Ltd (RBL), a unit of RRVL, announced a joint venture with Italian company Plastic Legno SPA and acquired a 40 per cent stake in the latter’s toy manufacturing business in India.
With both brands in its portfolio, Reliance Retail Ventures Ltd (RRVL) is one of the leading toy distributors. Hamleys mainly operates in the premium space, while Rowan plays in the mid-premium and mass segment with its affordable offerings.
According to a joint report by industry body FICCI and KPMG, the Indian toy market was estimated to be around USD 1 billion in 2019-20 and is expected to double to USD 2 billion by 2024-25.