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    The Loot to take advantage of falling real estate prices, to open 200 stores by March ’10

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    Apparel retail major plans to open 200 stores by March 2010. Further, the company which has 94 stores currently, plans to have at least 100 stores by March 2009, informed a top company official.

    “In the recent past we have been expanding on our franchisee model. Lower property prices and lower attrition rate in job profile have also helped reduce investment for setting up of new stores. The company plans to open stores in all districts, headquarters and capital cities with an airport and population of about 3 lakh,” said , managing director, The Loot to IndiaRetailing.

    According to Gupta, the company plans to target metros, tier I, II and III cities and are entering locations like Hubli, Dhanbad, Bengaluru, Pune, Sikar, Kothrud, Baripada etc.

    “While the investment on a franchise store is only towards merchandising, the company- run-stores incur a sizeable investment depending on the area of each store – approx Rs 2500 – Rs 2800 per square feet of the store area is needed for setting up a store,” added Gupta.

    Commenting further on the ongoing financial slowdown and its impact, Gupta said, “Retailers catering to basic necessities will not be really affected to a large extent. This segment will leverage on the scenario and should cash on the opportunities available.”

    “Though marginal impact can be temporarily felt but India being a huge market and a growing economy, this phase will pass,” feels Gupta.

    “This situation is in The Loot’s favour. The fall in real estate prices is certainly a favorable factor. The Loot is taking measured but calculated risks and has not stopped expansion plans” concluded Gupta.

    — Shailesh Shah