Reliance Industries’ grocery business, Reliance Retail, has reported better-than-expected results, the company revealed in its 2007-8 annual report.

In the fiscal ended 31 March, Reliance Retail, which operates about 590 shops in 57 Indian cities, has posted a net loss of INR8.2m (US$193,000) on sales of INR14.8bn, just 17 months after opening its first store.

The company was not expected to book positive results in the first few years of operation due to the high capital expenditure required to open new stores and establish a grocery retail chain.

Reliance operates 3.5m square foot of trading space and has outlined a total investment of INR250bn over the next few years. To date, the company has seen investments in the region of INR44bn. 

However, the annual report revealed that not all of Reliance Industries retail units have faired so well. Reliance Fresh and Reliance Dairy Foods have reported losses of INR2bn and INR3.6bn respectively for the fiscal.

The Indian retail market has been valued at INR14.1trn, however, organised retail only accounts for about 4% of the sector.