Damodar Mall, CEO – Grocery Retail, Reliance Retail
What’s the Future of Retail?
Both physical and digital modern retail are simultaneously modernising shopping and empowering customers. The best lies ahead!
In 1999, Damodar Mall graduated from selling soap at Hindustan Unilever to selling salt and sugar as promoter of the Apna Bazar franchises at Navi Mumbai and Thane, with R K Damani as the angel investor. The business model created in those two successful stores led to the genesis of DMart, but Damodar had to part ways with that venture. Soon thereafter, Kishore Biyani of Future Group, inducted Damodar in his early team of professionals, and the retail trajectory continued its momentum with the ramp-up of Food Bazaar from eight to 100 stores. Apart from value retail, Damodar was also a part of the pioneering gourmet retail team that created the first Foodhall store at Palladium, Mumbai.
While he played a leading role in the pioneering stage of modern retail in India, his next assignment was to lead an already established grocery chain, Reliance Fresh, where he led change at a scale with a large store network. He is currently scaling up the big box store Reliance Smart, which was imagined and created during his tenure. At Reliance Retail, the portfolio of neighbourhood (Fresh), big box (SMART), wholesale (Market) and e-commerce represents the full spectrum supermarket play. Along the way, his book “SupermarketWala” happened. It gave him a new identity!
Now, he is working on an interesting project with TRRAIN Retail Trust, which seeks to help small entrepreneurs and kirana stores set up modern supermarkets. This project, “Be a SupermarketWala” began a full two decades after Damodar began his retail journey from a 4,000 sq.ft store in Navi Mumbai!