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    Aditya Birla betting big on apparel biz


    Aditya Birla Nuvo a subsidy of the Aditya Birla group is betting big on apparel retail business as it is expected to pump in about Rs 400 crore to shift focus from apparel wholesaling to retailing.

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    If industry sources are to be believed, the company’s larger retail ventures under Aditya Birla Retail has been facing challenges, so it is changing tack and is trying hands on other verticals.

    Recently, the company saw the exit of the CEO of its supermarket business following differences on corporate targets. Aditya Birla Retail, which launched More retail outlets, from May last year, is operating in an industry that faces enormous challenges. “A fragmented supply chain and complex tax and regulatory structures have bogged down growth for most players,” said Aditya Birla Retail CEO Sumant Sinha at a recent industry seminar.

    Madura Garments, the apparel retail business of the group, last year posted revenue of Rs 1,025 crore. Madura Garments has been leading the apparel retail venture of the Birlas, ever since the group acquired Madura in 2000. The unit has some high-profile brands including Peter England and Allen Solly.

    On Friday, group chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla launched Peter England People, a branded family garments store in Mumbai.

    “Peter England is a strong brand and this store is part of our efforts to account for a larger share of the retail market,” Birla told media. The group will open 80 Peter England People stores across 10,000-12,000 square feet in five years, the chairman added, pointing that the shift represents the change; the group earlier had 10 per cent retail and wholesale about 90 per cent, which has almost reversed.