What’s going into Reliance’s new Mumbai mall, the size of 10 football fields

Luxury executives see the mall as a show of strength in a long-game bet for Reliance that is much more than a vanity project for the Ambani family

Left: Artist's impression of Jio World Plaza mall. Right: Louis Vuitton’s outlet in the mall will be its biggest in India at 7,376 square feet. Representational image: iStock.

A giant mall equal to the size of 10 football fields is set to be the new shopping destination for luxury goods in India.

Come 2023, Reliance will open this massive mall – Jio World Plaza mall – in the heart of Mumbai. Marble floors and golden guardrails will welcome visitors to this upscale mall as Mukesh Ambani’s company targets the uber-rich in the country. Besides luxury goods and cafes, the mall will also house a six-screen multiplex cinema.

Mukesh Ambani’s 30-year-old daughter Isha Ambani is closely involved in this project, a report said.

Last month, Reliance opened the 18.5-acre Jio World Centre, built at a cost of $1 billion. In the same complex, the Jio World Plaza mall, spread over four floors, will be located.

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30 luxury brands confirmed

According to the Jio World Centre’s website, the mall will be “Mumbai’s newest luxury shopping destination with a curation of iconic fashion, food and entertainment”.

“The centre will also be home to new and innovative culinary concepts including Oberoi 360 and the global culinary sensation, India Accent; a retail precinct with world-class shopping experience and luxury brands,” it added.

A Reuters report said so far 30 brands have been confirmed for the mall.

“A floorplan in a Reliance document reviewed by Reuters shows some 30 brands as confirmed in recent weeks for the upper ground floor of the mall, including LVMH’s Louis Vuitton, Tiffany and Dior. Also present will be LVMH rival Kering’s Gucci, Balenciaga and Bottega Veneta, along with Versace, Richemont’s Cartier and Hermes,” the report said.

The document doesn’t disclose financial details but confirmed that Louis Vuitton’s outlet in the mall will be its biggest in India at 7,376 square feet.

Euromonitor estimates the size of India’s personal luxury market was $2.6 billion last year, but is set to grow 12% a year to reach $4.7 billion by 2026. By comparison, the market in China, where Louis Vuitton has around 60 outlets and Versace 40, will be up to $107 billion by 2026 from $58 billion last year, the report said.

As per the document, the Mumbai mall is the Ambanis’ first attempt to bring non-partner, high-wattage luxury brands together with existing partners for local sales like Tiffany and Bottega Veneta. Around half the luxury floor’s brands will be Reliance partners.

‘Image booster’ for Reliance

Luxury executives see the mall as a show of strength in a long-game bet for Reliance that is much more than a vanity project for Isha and the Ambani family, even though it won’t be a money-spinner anytime soon. Isha has been closely involved in conceptualising the new mall, including how Reliance pitched the highly sensitive placement of rival brands next to each other, sources told Reuters.

Four Indian brands – in which Reliance invested in recent months with plans to take them global – will be the only domestic names on the luxury floor of the mall, the report said.

“The mall will act as a great image booster for Reliance. It appears they want to convey: ‘You can’t think of India without thinking of Reliance’,” Abhay Gupta, CEO of Indian consultancy Luxury Connect, which advises several global brands, was quoted as saying in the report.

Jio World Centre has been envisioned by Nita Ambani, Director, Reliance Industries and Founder-Chairperson of Reliance Foundation.

She said, “Jio World Centre is a tribute to our glorious nation and a reflection of the aspirations of New India. From the largest conventions to cultural experiences to pathbreaking retail and dining facilities, Jio World Centre is envisioned as Mumbai’s new landmark, a point where we come together to script the next chapter of India’s growth story.”

Jio World Centre’s “ahead-of-its-curve building has been developed with an international design vocabulary while honouring the culture and spirit of India”, Reliance said.

“It is a pioneer in technology and digital innovation and offers exceptional experiences such as India’s first 5G enabled digital infrastructure with uninterrupted data, virtual and hybrid events and unparalleled online cultural experiences,” according to the centre’s portal.

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