Biglife chalks out growth plans

Monday, 25 April 2011

Previously known as Ritu Wears, a chain of department stores popular with the mid market segment, has announced its intention to expand within one year. The expansion will continue to reinforce its stronghold within the northern states. The plan includes opening stores in Agra, Panipat, Meerut, Moradabad, Bareilly, Dehradun and Jaipur. The company currently runs 12 Biglife department larger format stores. It may be noted that Ritu Wears had re-branded itself as Biglife last October, although the old name is still in use. The new version of Biglife has large format stores with 30,000 sq. ft. area or more.

Meanwhile, J D S Apparels, which owns the chain of department stores, is planning to raise Rs 50 crores by selling shares to private equity (PE) funds to add as many as five stores this year. Motilal Oswal’s investment banking business has received the mandate for raising the fund. Puneet Singh Kochar, Director at Motilal Oswal’s investment banking business says it would take Rs 4-5 crore for setting up the interiors and about Rs 5-6 crores for buying new inventory. The business normally pays a three- month deposit to the builders who own the property. Kochar added that their growth has been slow and steady. They haven’t leveraged their balance sheet, which is probably their biggest strength. The company has grown at around 25 to 30 per cent. Since JDS has multiple brands, it can only tap domestic investors such as Reliance Capital, Aditya Birla Capital Advisors and Kotak Private Equity Group to raise funds. The government does not allow foreign investment in multi-brand retail.