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Tata’s Trent, UK’s Arcadia may set up 15 apparel stores in India

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Trent, the retail arm of the Tata, plans to open around 15 stores of Topshop and Topman brands in the country in the next three years, in a franchise agreement with Britain’s Arcadia group, said an informed source.

Topshop and Topman are women’s wear and men’s wear brands of Arcadia, which is owned by British billionaire Sir Philip Green.

Both the groups are giving final touches to the arrangement and awaiting approvals from the government, the source said. The plan is for two stores each in Mumbai and northern India by the end of this fiscal and to invest Rs 1 crore each in a store, he said.

Trent has started looking at properties for opening Topshop stores and if it gets space lesser than 5,000 square feet, it will set up Topman stores, sources said. “We will open more stores based on the progress of the opened stores. We do not want to open stores and then close down. We will selectively do it,’’ said an executive with Tatas, who did not wish to be identified.

When contacted, a Trent spokesperson said: “We do not comment on speculation’’, while an Arcadia spokesperson did not respond to emails sent by this newspaper.

While this should give a foothold for Arcadia in the country, for Trent it is expected to enlarge the portfolio of international tie-ups in apparels. Trent recently signed a joint venture with Spain’s Inditex to set up Zara stores in the country.

Trent also has a franchise agreement with the Benetton Group to run Sisley stores and another with UK’s Tesco to get back-end support for its hypermarkets.

The Arcadia group is Britain’s largest privately owned clothing retailer, with more than 2,500 outlets. It seven brands such as Burton, Dorothy Perkins, Evans, Miss Selfridge, Topman, Topshop and Wallis operate in 30 countries across Europe, South East Asia and Central Asia through 420 international franchise stores.

For the year ending 30 August 2008, Arcadia had total sales of £1,847.3 million, down 0.6 per cent from the previous year and its EBITDA (earning before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation) fell by 4.2 per cent, to £ 339.6 million.

While announcing the group’s 2007-08 results, Sir Philip Green outlined international expansion plans. “Our international trading space will increase by 126,000 sq ft, including our flagship store in New York, taking our overall number of international stores from 447 to 505,’’ he said.

Trent, which runs Westside apparel stores, the Landmark book chain, the hypermarket chain Star Bazaar and the value fashion chain Fashion Yatra, had a combined net profit of Rs 17.5 crore on net sales of Rs 393 crore in the first three quarters of fiscal year 2009.

Source: Business Standard

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