Reliance Retail Ventures acquires majority stake in designer Ritu Kumar’s co

Meenakshi Verma Ambwani New Delhi | Updated on October 19, 2021

This acquisition includes the 35% stake owned by PE firm Everstone in Ritika Pvt Ltd

In a strategic move, Reliance Retail Ventures Ltd (RRVL) has acquired a majority stake in Indian fashion designer Ritu Kumar-owned Ritika Pvt Ltd for an undisclosed amount.

RRVL will now own about 52 per cent stake in Ritika Pvt Ltd and this acquisition includes the 35 per cent stake owned by private equity firm Everstone in the company.

The announcement also comes close on the heels of Reliance Brands’ acquisition of 40 per cent stake in Manish Malhotra’s MM Styles Pvt Ltd and indicates the company’s sharper focus on investments in Indian designer wear brands. RRVL is a subsidiary of Reliance Industries Ltd and the holding company of all its retail businesses.

New set of customers

Darshan Mehta, MD & CEO, Reliance Brands Ltd, told BusinessLine, that the acquisition will enable the company to expand its reach to “a new cache of consumers”, besides catering to existing consumers. He said this move was in-line with the broad strategy of Reliance Brands to focus on discretionary spends of the top of the pyramid consumers.

The five-decade old Indian fashion house currently owns a portfolio of four brands including the eponymous luxury brand Ritu Kumar, Label Ritu Kumar targeted at younger consumers of western pret, luxury bridal couture and occasion wear line called RI Ritu Kumar, besides aarké. The brands are retailed through 151 point-of-sales globally. The company also has a presence in the home décor and furnishings segment with Ritu Kumar Home & Living.

“This partnership will further the work I started in researching and reviving India’s textile history and wealth while highlighting our design ability. It will also take Indian fashion, style and textiles across the country to a larger consumer base,” said founder Ritu Kumar.

RRVL said it will leverage its experience of building and nurturing global luxury and premium brands to further strengthen the brand. “We will work on strengthening the brand’s supply chain, technological enablement and market engagement across retail channels,” Mehta added.

Strong recovery

In the past few years, there has been a rise in corporate investments in independent Indian designer labels signalling consolidation in the market.

Amrish Kumar, Director, Ritika Pvt Ltd, said, “Over the past few years, strategic investors are understanding how Indian consumers have a strong penchant for Indian brands and there is a realisation that the Indian brands have the ability to really scale up not just within India but also in international markets. So, this alliance will enable us to scale up our presence further.”

The pandemic had also disrupted the formal wear and occasion wear segments while fuelling demand for comfort and casual wear. But premium and luxury brands are now witnessing strong recovery trends.

“The July-September quarter was possibly one of the finest quarters as we saw growth in double digits ahead of even 2019 numbers. The festival season has started very well for our portfolio of brands. We expect this demand momentum to continue through the festival and wedding season across categories,” added Mehta.

Published on October 19, 2021

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