Biyani reboots retail ambition with ‘I am in’

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A year after selling off the Pantaloons fashion piece to Aditya Birla Nuvo for R1,600 crore in a bid to deleverage his business, Kishore Biyani is back in business. His Future Group is set to re-enter the fashion space with an altogether new store brand ‘I am In’. As in the case of Pantaloon, the stores will be owned by the Future Group, but they will be much smaller.

While Pantaloon stores are typically anywhere between 20,000 and 25,000 square feet, the I am in stores will vary between 5,000 and 6,000 square feet. More important, the customer proposition will be completely different.While Pantaloon was essentially a family brand, I am in will be an brand positioned for the youth. As such, the stores will not stock any ethnic wear. Instead, they will sell mainly casual western clothes for both men and women and at a later stage may also house the Biyani group’s recently-launched Lombard brand for high-end fashion formal menswear.“Since India is a young country, we believe it makes sense to cater for the youth,” said a person familiar with the development, adding that the first three stores will be rolled out over the next month in Bangalore, Nagpur and Thane, and will be housed in malls.

When Lombard was launched, the company had said that it would open 50 standalone stores via the franchisee model and also tie up with 750 multi-brand stores. The Future Group plans to invest R100 crore on marketing and building the Lombard brand in the next one year.

Last week, Future Retail (FRL) — earlier Pantaloon Retail — along with Future Ventures India (FVIL) de-merged the fashion and apparel pieces into Future Lifestyle and Fashion (FLFL). Shareholders of FRL got one share of FLFL for every three shares they held in FRL.

The de-merger results in three firms — FRL, which is now a hypermarket play since it houses Big Bazaar, Home Town and Food Bazaar or essentially the value retail piece; FLFL, which houses the fashion business comprising Central and Brand Factory stores along with Indus League, BIBA and other brands; and FVIL, which will own the food and FMCG brands like Tasty Treat and Cleanmate.

The de-merged Future Retail had a turnover of R10,500 crore with an Ebitda margin of 8%. Analysts estimate its debt at R4,500 crore. A presentation on the company’s website says Future Lifestyle Fashions had a turnover of R3,100 crore in FY13 with an Ebitda margin of 11% while its debt is estimated by analysts at R1,400 crore.

Source- Financial Express

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