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ritu kumar: Reliance Retail buys 52% in Ritu Kumar


NEW DELHI: Reliance Retail has acquired 52% equity in India’s oldest fashion house Ritu Kumar days after picking up a significant stake in Manish Malhotra, a desi couture label which has become the staple of Bollywood celebrities. The stake in ‘Ritika’, the parent of the 76-year-old designer’s numerous brands across categories, will give Reliance control over Label Ritu Kumar, RI Ritu Kumar, aarké and Ritu Kumar Home & Living. While the size of the deal was not disclosed, the equity acquisition includes Reliance buying Everstone’s 35% stake in the company. The private equity firm had invested $16.6 million in the company in 2014. Often credited with introducing the concept of designer wear to India, Kumar, who started her fashion business in the late ’60s, is known for her work with natural fabrics and traditional weaving techniques. Reliance’s move to lap up homegrown ethnic designer wear labels comes against the backdrop of rival Aditya Birla Fashion and Retail (ABFRL) buying stakes in ethnic wear brands such as Tarun Tahiliani, Sabyasachi and Jaypore. Both companies are aiming to capitalise on these brand names by developing and launching collections in the affordable segment. For the designers, the fresh capital means a new lease of life as the pandemic has wiped out revenues for retail players. “Most Indian designers run boutique stores and they lack scale,” said a former senior employee at one of India’s largest couture labels. “The clothes get sold mostly during weddings and the party season. With both subdued for the last two years, you cannot stay afloat for long.”


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