Indian fashion and lifestyle retail operator, Reliance Brands, has confirmed the launch of the UK-based premium coffee chain Pret A Manger in India, marking the retailer’s first foray into the F&B sector. 

The India launch is part of Pret A Manger’s strategy to further expand its presence globally, which will see the brand launching into several markets, including Spain, Portugal, the Republic of Ireland and the Middle East.

“RBL closely follows the pulse of Indian consumers, and there is an increased consciousness of what we eat – rapidly making food the new fashion,” said Darshan Mehta, MD, Reliance Brands.

“Indians, like their global counterparts, are seeking fresh and organic ingredient-led dining experiences which have been synonymous with Pret’s core offering.”

Pret A Manger’s India debut, reported by Inside Retail last month, comes at a time when the competition in the country’s cafe market heats up and is dominated by Starbucks and Cafe Coffee Day, which run more than 500 and 250 outlets, respectively, across the country. Canadian coffee chain Tim Hortons struck a deal with a joint venture earlier this year to establish its first store in India this year with a plan to roll out 300 locations across the country over the next decade.

“Two decades ago, we opened Pret’s first shop in Asia and it’s been an inspiration for all of us to bring our freshly made food and 100 per cent organic coffee to new cities across the continent,” said Pano Christou, CEO of Pret A Manger. “RBL is a great partner to help us do just that, bringing their years of expertise in the market to help our brand succeed in India.”

Launched in 1986 in London, Pret-A-Manger currently operates 550 locations across nine markets, including the US, France, Hong Kong and Dubai.