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Pantaloons to invest Rs 175 crore on store expansion in 12 months

NEW DELHI: Fresh from a change in ownership, Pantaloons Fashion & Retail Ltd will be investing up to Rs 175 crore in the next 12 months on store expansion across India, mainly in smaller towns. 

The company, which became a part of Kumar Mangalam Birla-led 
Aditya Birla Nuvo LtdBSE -2.69 % (ABNL) effective from April this year, is targeting to open at least one store per month in the next 12 months at an investment of up to Rs 15 crore per outlet. 

"For a format like Pantaloons, which is end-to-end from design to delivery, there is a tremendous potential. The focus in the next 12 months of transition is to scale up the store network," Pantaloons Fashion & Retail Ltd CEO
Shital Mehta told PTI. 

He said further said: "Our the target in the short term is to open at least one store a month, although we have a line of sight for 15 stores." 

On the investments for the network expansion, he said: "Per store, including the real estate and capex, it should be around Rs 15 crore on an average." 

Mehta said while metros would continue to be part of the strategy, the company is targeting smaller cities and towns. 

"We are targeting young customers in 'Bharat', who are entering the consumption brigade. Our ability to offer affordable fashionable ethnic wear is our strength to attract them. About 60-70 per cent of the new stores will be in smaller places," he said. 

The firm opened its first flagship store in Chandigarh last week and is targeting other places, including Dehradun, Pune, Kalyan. Pantaloons has 71 stores across 35 cities. 

When asked if the change in ownership from 
Future Group would signal changes in the way Pantaloons operate, Mehta, who held top positions in Aditya Birla group's Madura Garments, replied in the negative. 

"What we bring is not only the financial muscle but also the experience of building brands. What we are looking is to build on the inherent quality of Pantaloons, which is costing and affordability, the ability of offer affordable fashionable items in a modern store format," he said. 

Mehta also said Pantaloons has about 20-25 "power house brands" which could be developed into standalone labels in future and even open independent outlets for them. 

Last year, Aditya Birla Nuvo Ltd had entered into and agreement with the Future Group to infuse Rs 1,600 crore into 'Pantaloon' and acquire a majority stake in the store chain and later demerge it to be listed as a separate entity.