Dubai-based retail group Lifestyle International has elevated Kabir Lumba to the chairman of its board of directors. Lumba is taking over from Ramanathan Hariharan, who will be retiring from his position in March 2021. Lumba will be assuming his new role on 1st of April 2021. Lumba had led the Lifestyle Home Centre businesses in India for over 14 years before taking over the role of CEO, Max Middle East in 2018 and subsequently the CEO of Landmark Group.
During this time, he has driven consistent growth, formed alliances with world renowned brands, and nurtured a private label programme for the company’s three retail formats, which accounts for more than 30 per cent of the organisation’s sales today.
Under his tenure, Lifestyle — one of India’s most respected retail brands — has won numerous awards and accolades including ‘Best Department Store’ at the IMAGES Retail Awards for four successive years, and recognition as Best Company to Work for in Retail Industry – 2014 by Great Place to Work Institute.
While he was the retail organisation’s Managing Director, Lumba had overseen Lifestyle’s geographical growth across India, which now stands at 45 cities. In addition, under his leadership, Lifestyle International grew beyond a department store retailer and now comprises a home products format — Home Centre, and a value fashion chain — Max.
In fact, Lumba counts making Lifestyle and Home Centre highly respected brands in India among customers and associates alike, among his key professional accomplishments.
“Retail as a business is closest to the consumer. It provides a unique opportunity to keenly observe them and gain key insights firsthand,” he says. “Using these insights to continuously enhance the shopping experience for consumers through constant innovation is an extremely satisfying and enjoyable experience.”
Admitting that retailing is not the easiest of businesses to operate successfully in, Lumba says the biggest professional challenges he faces include managing various environmental factors that are not in one’s control. “Unforeseen delays in mall developments and the lack of proper infrastructure act as impediments to fast track growth,” he notes.
Believing that challenges notwithstanding, retailers in India have miles to go in actualising the potential that exists in this marketplace. “To achieve full potential, Indian retailers must be constantly alert and willing to evolve along with the ever-changing demands and need of the Indian consumers. This is a complex and dynamic market but offers huge long term opportunities for those willing to be patient,” he points out.
Patient expansion has been the signature strategy of Lifestyle International over the past decade, echoing Lumba’s counsel, but the company’s top line growth is set to exhibit acceleration now, with the opening of 6-8 Lifestyle stores every year for the next 2-3 years.
Founded in 1973 in Bahrain, the Landmark Group is one of the largest retail groups in the Middle East. Landmark currently operates over 2,200 outlets spanning over 30 million square feet across the Middle East, North Africa and the Indian sub-continent.
Landmark entered India in 1999 and currently operates formats including Lifestyle department stores chain, Home Centre and Max in the country.