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Reliance Retail picks up controlling stake in designer Ritu Kumar’s firm

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Reliance Retail Ventures (RRVL) has acquired a controlling stake of 52 percent in designer Ritu Kumar’s company Ritika Pvt. Ltd. RRVL’s majority equity acquisition in Ritika Pvt. Ltd includes completely acquiring Everstone’s 35 percent stake in the company. The private equity firm had invested Rs 100 crore in Ritu Kumar in 2014, and will now exit the company.

Reliance Retail Ventures (RRVL) has acquired a controlling stake of 52 percent in designer Ritu Kumar’s company Ritika Pvt. Ltd. RRVL’s majority equity acquisition in Ritika Pvt. Ltd includes completely acquiring Everstone’s 35 percent stake in the company. The private equity firm had invested Rs 100 crore in Ritu Kumar in 2014, and will now exit the company.
The designer-wear brand, launched in 1969 in primarily an ethnic and occasion-wear brand run by designer and Padma Shri Awardee Ritu Kumar. It runs four fashion brands retailing out of 151 point of sales globally - Ritu Kumar, Label Ritu Kumar launched in 2002 for a younger, global consumers, luxury bridal couture and occasion wear line RI Ritu Kumar and its newest addition aarké, which is an accessible product line. The company also runs Ritu Kumar Home & Living, a category extension catering to comfortable luxury home segment.
This deal announcement comes days after Reliance announced that Reliance Brands will be picking up a 40 percent stake in MM Styles Ltd., which owns Manish Malhotra’s eponymous fashion house. The company said at the time that in addition to expanding the physical presence of Manish Malhotra’s brand beyond its four flagship retail stores in India, it will also seek to create a ‘strong technology backbone’ for the brand and build it into a ‘global couture powerhouse’.
For Reliance, this is part of its larger strategy of supporting home-grown brands rooted in ‘Indian design sensibilities’. The learnings from large retail network across RRVL’s subsidiaries, experience of building and nurturing global luxury to premium brands in the country, and deep commitment to Indian craftsmanship will be a strong platform to build brand Ritu Kumar going ahead, the company added in a statement.
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“We are delighted to partner with Ritu Kumar, who possesses strong brand recognition, potential for scale, and innovation in fashion and retail – all key ingredients to build a complete lifestyle brand. Together, we want to build a robust platform and customer ecosystem for our native textiles and crafts – both in India and across the world – so that our crafts receive the honor and recognition they deserve in international couture,” Isha Ambani, Director, Reliance Retail Ventures Ltd, said in a statement.
Reliance also currently holds stakes in two other Indian luxury designers Satya Paul and Raghavendra Rathore.
Reliance Retail’s focus in general has been on the premium to luxury segment across fashion and lifestyle space. The current portfolio of Reliance Brand’s brand partnerships comprises Armani Exchange, Bally, Bottega Veneta, Brooks Brothers, Burberry, Canali, Coach, Diesel, Dune, EA7, Emporio Armani, Ermenegildo Zegna, G-Star Raw, Gas, Giorgio Armani, Hamleys, Hugo Boss, Hunkemoller, Iconix, Jimmy Choo, Kate Spade New York, Michael Kors, Mothercare, Muji, Paul & Shark, Paul Smith, Pottery Barn, Pottery Barn Kids, Replay, Salvatore Ferragamo, Satya Paul, Steve Madden, Superdry, Scotch & Soda, Tiffany & Co., Tory Burch, Tumi, Versace, Villeroy & Boch and West Elm. RBL today operates 1339 doors split into 595 stores and 744 shop-in-shops in India.
Reliance Retail picking up stakes in Indian luxury fashion designers also comes at a time another retail major in the country – Aditya Birla Fashion & Retail has adopted a similar strategy of growing its premium ethnic wear portfolio. ABFRL chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla at the company’s annual general meeting (AGM) in September this year alluded to ethnic wear category being one clear area of focus for the company being the largest segment in the fashion and apparel sector with a significant profit pool.
Earlier this year in February 2021, the company invested in Tarun Tahiliani to form a new entity and build a Rs 500 crore business over the next five years and a month before that also picked up a 51 percent stake in designer Sabyasachi's brand for Rs 398 crore and in Shantanu & Nikhil and Jaypore for Rs 110 crore in 2019.