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30th MAY - 4th JUNE

Titan Industries to open 250 stores in 2011-2012!

Watch and jewelry maker Titan Industries plans to open 250 stores across India in 2011-12 (April-March), compared to 150 stores last financial year. The companys capital expenditure for the next financial year is likely to be around Rs.100 crore, part of which, will be used for expansion and maintenance of the stores it currently owns. The company will continue to open 30-40 stores of Titan in 2011-12, but the aim is now to scale up expansion of newer formats like Helios, Eyeplus and Fastrack. Titan, for instance, currently only has 3 stores of Helios, a high-end multi-brand watch chain. But by the end of the next financial year, it plans to have 40 operational stores of Helios. The company will also open around 60-70 stores of Fastrack, which sells casual range of watches and accessories, and around 20 stores of its jewelry retail chain Tanishq. Titan will also open 6-7 stores of its mass-market jewelry brand Goldplus. The company currently has 29 Goldplus retail stores. Titan had launched the Goldplus brand in 2005 targeting smaller towns, but froze expansion last year, after opening 30 stores since launch. The company had last year said it wanted to get its business model right and might have to close or relocate some Goldplus stores. The focus of Goldplus will continue to be on tier II and III towns mainly in South India. Titan Industries already has 646 stores under operation across India (as of February-end). Less than 15% of these are company owned, while the rest are franchisees.

McDonalds signs deal with IOC to open in petrol stations

Mcdonalds India has joined hands with the Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) to increase its presence in petrol stations in the western and the southern regions and aims to more than double its sales from these areas by 2014. Under the agreement, IOC will provide space to McDonald's for opening `Drive Thru' restaurants in western and southern India. IOC has over 8,000 fuel outlets in south and west India, and this agreement will support McDonald's expansion plans. The company plans to open 30-50 Drive Thru outlets in five years in tier II destinations in south and west India.

Vishal Retail goes under the Hammer of 70 CR

Three years ago, Vishal Retail commanded a market valuation of about Rs.2,200 crore. Now, the retail chain has sold its retail and wholesale business at just 3% of its peak valuation. In a filing to Bombay Stock Exchange, the debt-laden retailer has declared the sale of its retail business to Chennai-based Shriram Group and wholesale business to PE firm TPG for 70 crore. The deal makes Vishal the first listed Indian retailer to sell out in the wake of the economic meltdown in 2008. It completes the Corporate Debt Restructuring (CDR) process started last year after Vishal Retail failed to pay its dues. The retailer ran up debt of around 730 crore as on September 30, 2010, as it tried to fund an ambitious expansion plan. The transaction on a slump sale basis includes all the assets, rights, interests, inventories, cash flows, store leases and liabilities of the company. Slump sale is a mode of selling a business where one or more undertakings are transferred for a lump sum without fixing values for individual assets and liabilities. Of the 500-crore debt the company owes to lenders who have participated in the CDR process, about 75 crore has been retained as debt at Vishal Retail, to be repaid through asset sales. The remainder was converted partially into long-term TPG Wholesale debt securities and compulsory convertible security. These will be converted into equity at the time of the eventual public issue. Lenders who did not participate in the CDR include Barclays, Deutsche Bank and LIC Mutual Fund. The non-CDR lenders were offered an option of either accepting the same terms that were given to the CDR lenders or a one-time settlement plus a small amount of equity.

DLF in licensing deal with MANGO

DLF Ltd. has entered a licensing deal with Spanish brand Mango. The Spanish clothing major has been in partnership with Major Brands through which it opened 15 stores. It is reported that the existing stores will continue to be operated by Major Brands, while DLF will be spearheading the new store openings. DLF, which has already opened Mango's travel retail store at the new terminal of New Delhi airport, plans to add six more stores in the current year. DLF currently operates other global fashion names such as Armani, DKNY, and Ferragamo. The company is now set to launch a multi-brand retail store chain leveraging on its basket of international fashion brands. These stores will also stock brands that are not part of DLF Brands. The multi-brand stores will be like a premium discount store stocking high-end fashion labels but at lower price. The first of the multi-brand stores spread across 10,000 square feet will open in Gurgaon.

Pantaloon Retail faces growth challenge

After a disappointing Calendar Year 2009, when the samestore sales growth across segments grew 6-12 %, in Calendar Year 10 it has been in the 12-21 % range. While the value and lifestyle segments are doing well, the company is struggling to make profits for the home division. The company had Ebdita margins of 9.2 % in 2009-10 and is likely to end 2010-11 at about 8.8 %. According to analysts, margins are likely to drop to 8-8.5% due to higher contribution from the value retail business. Unlike lifestyle business (Pantaloon, Central), which fetches Ebidta margins upwards of 15 %, the value segment (Big Bazaar, Food Bazaar) earns single-digit margins. With food being the fastest growing business for the company, analysts believe margin expansion in the short-to-medium term is unlikely. In fact, its margins for the December quarter last year fell 150 bps year-on-years to 8.6 % due to inadequate price rises, losses in the electronics business and higher sales of food retailing in the overall mix. In addition to the product mix, the company has to contend with cost inflation both in food as well as other product categories. Fears that rising interest rates and inflation could impact its margins and sales have driven the stock of Indias largest listed retailer are down 24 % since the start of the year.

Tommy Hilfiger to focus on childrens wear

In the next 2 years, Tommy Hilfiger is eyeing 12-15 % revenue through the sale of childrens apparel. To achieve this, the company would be looking at setting up 100 retail points including exclusive stores and shop-in-shops. Presently the brand has 20 childrens wear retail points with two exclusive stores. The second exclusive store was opened in Chandigarh recently. Childrens wear is a new push area for the brand which has so far focused primarily on menswear, womens wear.

Delhi Duty Free adds fashion brands

Delhi Duty Free, which until now focused on liquor, tobacco and toiletries, is adding fashion and luxury brands to its retail offer. The company claims brands like Hugo Boss, Samsonite Black and Swarovski will be up to 35 % cheaper at duty free stores than on the retail shelves across the city. The average store size for each of the brands is 800 sq ft and the total space dedicated to fashion retail under duty free is 3,200 sq. ft.

US POLO clocks `75 crore in India

US Polo, the mid-tier American brand, brought to India by Arvind Brands and Retail, expects to clock a turnover of Rs.75 crore this year (2 years after launching the brand in India). The brand currently has 150 points of sales and 20 EBOs (Exclusive Brand Outlets). Besides investing in the exclusive boutiques, the brand has also invested heavily in shop-in-shops in department stores by creating special islands with superior visual merchandising, incorporating elements such as saddles, mallets and photos of polo players. Today, US Polo claims to have the highest productivity among apparel brands in India in terms of sales per sq. ft. While the average brand is said to deliver `30 a sq ft per day, US Polo delivers `50. The brand launched with mens wear and extended into footwear. This year, it is looking at getting into kids wear, women's wear and luggage. Globally, in 2010, US Polo clocked a retail turnover of $850 million. Its top markets today are the US and West Asia. Currently, the Indian market accounts for just 5% of business globally, while China represents 15%. Recognized by its double horsemen logo, which represents one horseman playing another, the company has been in litigation with Ralph Lauren over the logo for long. They claim that Ralph took their logo and made it popular. US Polo was founded in 1890 long before Ralph Lauren was started in 1967.

Britannia to expand its chain of cafs

Out-of-home consumer spend is being seen as the next big opportunity. In an effort to tap into this segment, Britannia Industries plans to scale up its cafe business which is currently lead by Daily Bread Gourmet Foods, a wholly owned subsidiary of Britannia. The company currently has 22 company-owned and eight franchisee stores in Bangalore, it has five stores in Hyderabad and three in Goa. The company plans to open 75 more stores across India with a focus on cities such as Bangalore, Hyderabad and Goa. The company has also tied with large-format retailers such as Spencer's to set up shop-inshop formats.

Versace Home opens in Delhi

Versace Home, the home-furnishing line from the Italian design house has opened its first standalone furnishing boutique. Internationally, Versace Home was launched in 1992 with a collection of bed sheets, pillows and cushions. This was soon followed by porcelain dinner sets and high-end furniture with the trademark Versace logo. Located in The Gallery Mall at MG Road, the store is spread over 300 square meters. Versace already has a prt store at the DLF Emporio mall, Vasant Kunj where it had introduced a small section of the Versace Home line on a trial basis. Encouraged by the response the company decided to set up a full store. At the store a designer Versace vase can cost you `8,000 and the other products can range from Rs.10,000 to Rs.100,000 and above. Versace is being retailed in India through Blues Clothing Company.

Raymond to re-launch Park Avenue with a new logo

Raymond is re-launching its largest selling Rs.500 crore Park Avenue and investing in the 25-year apparel brand with a new logo and extending it to areas like business casuals and eyewear. It has appointed an UK-based company to design a new logo. It would also increase the number of Park Avenue and Raymond stores, adding another 100 new stores this fiscal.

Tanishq inaugurates its 6th store in Chennai

Tanishq has launched its 6th showroom in Chennai, at Chromepet and will be setting up 15 new showrooms in the next fiscal year. With the store at Chrompet, Tanishq retail chain now has 123 exclusive boutiques in 76 cities. The area of proposed showrooms would range from 3,000 sq.ft. to 20,000 sq.ft., including four to five large showrooms spanning total area of more than 8,000 sq.ft. each. The largest of the upcoming outlets would be a 20,000-sft showroom in Mumbai. At Tanishq gold jewelry accounts for 70 % of all jewelry sales.