The coronavirus pandemic and the 21-day lockdown in India has stalled Future Group founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Kishore Biyani’s mega plan to bring global retail chain 7-Eleven to India.

7-Eleven is considered to be the world's largest convenience store. In December, BusinessLine had reported that the Future Group had planned to launch its first 7-Eleven store in Mumbai, Maharashtra, in February or March 2020.

A source said that earlier this month, senior officials of the Future Group were supposed to meet to discuss whether to launch the stores or not. With the complete lockdown in India, an indefinite delay is presumed, the person added.

Without specifying the date or a timeline for the launch, the source said that in “the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic, it is not going to launch anytime soon.”

Future Group was unavailable for comment.

Global presence

7-Eleven, Inc. has over 67,000 convenience stores in 17 countries. The retailer has been exploring an India entry since 2004. The company had signed a master franchise agreement with a Future Retail Ltd arm, SHME Food Brands Pvt Ltd, to develop and operate 7-Eleven outlets in India.

Future Retail has 1,800 stores in over 270 cities across India. The company has a vast and varied experience in the retail business. The Future Group owns brands such as Big Bazaar, Food Hall, EasyDay, FBB, among others.

Biyani has plans to launch the 7-Eleven stores in high-traffic neighbourhoods, corporate parks, hospitals, transit points, colleges.

Different format

The format of the 7-Eleven stores is likely to be different from the conventional convenience stores. Future Retail’s 7-Eleven will have a snack point, where people can buy Indian snacks while shopping.

It will have hygienic food, takeaways, snacks, confectionery and tobacco products. “Of course, it won’t be like a cafe; it would be quick bites,” Biyani had said on the sidelines of an event in December.

He had said that over the next two-three years, the Future Group planned to add stores only in Mumbai. “If a country like Thailand has 11,000 7-Eleven stores, Mumbai can easily have 1,000 stores,” Biyani had said.