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Major Brands to expand; finds real estate an impediment

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Major Brands, probably the only company that has introduced about a dozen of premium fashion-and-lifestyle brands in the country, has chalked out major expansions plans. The group will not only expand retail presence of its existing portfolio, but is also looking at introducing more international brands in the country.

In an exclusive revelation to Indiaretailing, Govind Bharwani, president and director, Apparel Group, said: “India is an emerging market for us as lot of Indians are well travelled and aware of international fashion trends. Our portfolio of brands is well accepted in the market. To extend reach of our brands, we are planning to open shops in major metros and tier II cities. For instance, Ludhiana, which has a considerable lot of fashion-conscious and high-income consumers, is our next destination.”

Quizzed about the impediments to growth, Bharwani said, “It took us a bit too long to introduce such a big chunk of brands as real estate in India was not right. Our portfolio of brands requires specific ambience and retailing environment, which, other than at a handful of malls, is not available anywhere in the country. We are in the process of finding suitable locations to expand.”

Bharwani also marked taxation structure, non-cooperation of realtors and their unfriendly models as other growth impediments for a retailer in India.

Commenting on the FDI issue, Bharwani said that the time is not right to allow foreign investments and confirmed that he was part of a delegation that urged the union commerce and industry minister to not to allow FDI in India.

Earlier, Nilesh Ved, CEO, Apparel Group, had told Indiaretailing that the company will open shops in smaller cities including Ahmedabad, Pune, Chandigarh, and Ludhiana, and is in the process of finalising real estate.

Ved, too, had condemned the state of real estate and infrastructure in the country, saying, “Right development of real estate is a must for retail development in the country. Real estate and infrastructure are a real problem and need to be solved as soon as possible.”

Apparel Group, for its India operations, had set up Major Brands in 2001. At present, the company operates a total of 33 stores retailing ten brands, in Mumbai, Delhi and Bengaluru. The brand portfolio includes Mango, Nine West, Aldo, Bally, Charles & Keith, La Senza, Inglot, Promod, Aldo Accessories and Okaidi.

– Ranjan Kaplish

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