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    Biba Apparels to open 60 stores by ’11; to invest Rs 400 mn

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    In a step befitting the falling real estate prices, Apparels will take the number of its exclusive brand outlets (EBOs) to 110 in the next three years. “We plan to set up 110 stores pan-India by 2011. These will be set up in the metros, tier II and III cities,” said Sanjay Bindra, director, Apparels. Further, the Mumbai-based women’s ethnic garments major plans to inject Rs 400 million in its proposed expansion plan. The stores will be spread across an average 1,200 square feet and would be self-managed ones, added Bindra.

    “We currently have 49 EBOs across India and with economic slowdown, real estate properties are available at affordable rates, thus causing retailers to go for aggressive expansion plans. Meanwhile, tier II and III cities are preferred over metros on account of very minimal competition,” he said, adding that a lot of brands were still not present in these areas. In 2009-10, the company intends to set up 30 stores with each store entailing an investment of Rs 4-6 million, he added.

    Biba collection is available through a chain of retail outlets across 25 cities comprising of 49 stand-alone stores, 51 multi-brand outlets (MBOs) and 20 traditional retail establishments. The house follows the shop-in-shops model for all MBOs and also retails its products through major chains like Shopper’s Stop, , and IndiaBulls store.

    Meanwhile, estimating the Indian ethnic market worth 150 billion, Bindra shared that Indian markets are biased towards women’s wear when it comes to ethnic garments. “Indian markets favour women’s ethnic wear and with Biba present in the segment, we do not want to dilute our focus towards western wear or men’s ethnic wear,” quoted Bindra.

    However, Bindra expressed his concerns over Govenment policies when it comes to the growth of ethnic wear market. “We wrote a letter to the Prime Minister of India seeking the same status for ethnic wear market which the Indian handicraft industry enjoys. We pay huge amont of excise duties on our products which is absent in case of hadicraft products,” added Bindra.

    Quite recently, Biba bagged the honour of most admired womenswear brand of 2009 by (IFA).

    — Shailesh Shah