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Saturday, Feb 14, 2004

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Landmark group plans hypermarkets

Vinay Kamath

New Delhi , Feb. 13

CLOSE on the heels of Pantaloon's Big Bazar and RPG group's Giant hypermarket, the Dubai-based $500-million Landmark group, promoters of the Lifestyle retail chain in India, plans to launch three hypermarkets in the South in the next 18-24 months.

Mr H. Ramanathan, Director, Landmark group, told Business Line on the sidelines of the KSA Retail Summit here that the group intends to invest Rs 150 crore in its hypermarket project. Eventually, it intends to establish 10 hypermarkets after gauging the success of the first three stores, which Landmark will set up in Bangalore, Hyderabad and Chennai. The group is scouting for properties in these cities. The group is also examining the funding structure for the hypermarket project as it cannot invest right now through the FDI route. The hypermarkets will target end consumers and will not be in the wholesale cash & carry format.

Mr Ramanathan said the stores, each spread over an area of 6,000 sq metres, will stock everything from utensils to apparel. The south, he said, can take at least five hypermarkets and the other five planned will be spread over other regions.

While the Landmark group has 320 stores in West Asia, as well as in India, through Lifestyle, it does not have a hypermarket chain in its portfolio. So, the group will look at outsourcing the know-how to run hypermarkets from a specialist. "We don't want to reinvent the wheel again in learning how to run a hypermarket," said Mr Ramanathan.

The Landmark group has invested Rs 60 crore already in the Indian market for its seven stores through the FDI route. It had received the clearance before the policy on disallowing FDI in retail was firmed up. Mr Ramanathan indicated that it could still invest some more money with the clearance it had received earlier.

Its LifeStyle chain will see 13 new stores by 2006 at an additional investment of Rs 120 crore. The chain projects a turnover of Rs 310 crore in 2004-05.

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