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Top retail brands to continue expanding footprint

Banking on eventual end to the pandemic

Reliance Retail, Tata-owned Croma, Levi’s, Spencer’s Retail, Nature’s Basket, Trent, Aditya Birla Fashion and Retail (ABFRL), and Starbucks are going ahead with their expansion plans and signing up new properties, the Economic Times mentioned in a report.

Reliance Retail plans to open 6,500-7,000 outlets, almost double its previous highest number in FY19, and is signing up properties for expansion plans next year. Almost 70% of stores will be in the new neighbourhood grocery format, Smart Point, which will also aid in fulfilment of orders for its ecommerce business JioMart and in smaller towns.

Last month, Tata Starbucks said it opened 40 stores in seven new cities, its fastest expansion. ABFRL plans to add 300-400 stores, Trent may open 25 Westside stores and almost 70 Zudio stores while V-Mart may add about 50 stores this year.

Croma chief marketing officer Ritesh Ghosal said that expansion plans are continuing, considering the pandemic will end someday. The chain has 193 stores with 16 more to start and 75 stores planned for FY22.

“After a halt in H1FY21, companies resumed store additions from Q3FY21 and are likely to cautiously expand distribution network as the market is still hugely unpenetrated, especially beyond metros and tier-1 cities and also to lock in favourable long-term rentals,” the publication quoted ICICI Securities as saying in a note.

In February, ABFRL, which sells clothes and accessories from Louis Philippe, Van Heusen, Allen Solly and Peter England, said it opened over 300 stores in line with its strategic plans to enter smaller towns.

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