Four years ago, Kishore Biyani was shunted out by both K Raheja Corp and Landmark Group when he approached them to merge his department store chain Central with Shoppers Stop and Lifestyle. The most embarrassing part, however, was when bankers refused to reveal the valuation that both retailers had quoted for central.
The same year, he managed to find a suitor in Aditya Birla Group, but for his flagship chain Pantaloon. Biyani is now back with a vengeance as Future Lifestyle Fashions (FLF), for the first time ever, has surpassed the country’s largest department chain Shoppers Stop in retail sales. FLF, which runs Central, Brand Factory and more than a dozen brands including Indigo Nation and Lee Cooper, had sales of Rs.803 crore during the June quarter.
In comparison, K Raheja’s Shoppers Stop with an eponymous department chain, home format Home Stop and specialty beauty formats such as Estee Lauder and Mac posted sales at Rs.772 crore.
“Most of our brands are coming off age. There was an increased focus on lifestyle business with specific target for each brand and return on capital employed. That’s what has paid off,” Biyani said.
While the company has added nearly 1.5 million sq ft in the past three years, growth is mainly driven by stronger same-stores sales growth at about 10 per cent for both Central and Brand Factory despite aggression by online rivals.
With 366 stores covering 5 million square feet across formats, FLF is twice as large as Lifestyle International and a tad bigger than Shoppers Stop for fashion and lifestyle businesses.
– Indian Apparel, Apparel Talk