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Debenhams will open in Gurgaon; Planet Retail MD resigns

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Debenhams, the UK-based department store, is all set to open its first store in September at Ambi Mall in Gurgaon, in partnership with Planet Retail Holdings Pvt. Ltd, a lifestyle-retail company. Debenhams will open its second store at the DLF Courtyard Mall in Saket, Delhi.

“The long wait will soon come to an end. The first Debenhams store is likely to open in Gurgaon in September. Tagged as ‘Britain’s Favourite Department Store’, Debenhams delivers its own brand of style, comfort and practicality in its product offerings,” a company official told Indiaretailing.

He also confirmed that Arun Bhardwaj, MD, Planet Retail Holdings, has resigned from the post recently. When enquired about who is likely to replace Bhardwaj, he said, “The company will soon announce it officially.” The much-talked-about tie-up with Debenhams and the change of its corporate identity from Planet Sports to Planet Retail happened during Bhardwaj’s tenure last year. However, he was not available for comment.

Debenhams’ 35,000-square-foot space, spread across two levels, is expected to showcase over 20 designer labels. “This unique lifestyle department store concept from the United Kingdom offers shoppers over 20 British brands under one roof – with an offering ranging from exclusive designer fashion to modern, contemporary homeware,” the official added.

“The company plans to have 10 stores operational in cities like New Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Kolkata, Chennai, Hyderabad and Ludhiana by 2010, envisaging an overall investment of $30-50 million.

“While Ambi Mall is yet to open its 1-kilometre-long shopping space, posters are already in place, announcing the arrival of the UK-based department store in Gurgaon,” according to sources.

The store will house labels by British fashion designers such as J by Jasper Conran, Rocha by John Rocha, Butterfly by Matthew Williamson, and Star by Julien MacDonald, apart from brands like Red Herring, Maine, Thomas Nash, Mantaray and Pineapple.

“While MAC and Lancome will bring in their high-end cosmetics, Clinique will make its official India debut at the store. Also on the cards is a lingerie boutique with an exclusive line of Reger by Janet Reger, and Caprice and Midnight by Myla,” the spokesperson added.

Debenhams, which is established through company-owned stores in the United Kingdom and Ireland, also has franchise stores in Bahrain, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dubai, Iceland, Kuwait, Indonesia, Malaysia, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sharjah and Sweden. Debenhams has over 100 stores across the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland.

Planet Retail Holdings also holds the Indian master franchises for Marks & Spencer, Guess, Women’s Secret, and Body Shop.

Kishore Biyani-promoted Pantaloon Retail India holds 49 per cent equity stake in Planet Retail.

– Vishnu Rageev R, Bangalore Bureau

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