Reliance Retail Ventures on Tuesday announced that it has acquired a 52 per cent equity stake in Ritika Pvt Ltd that owns Ritu Kumar, Label Ritu Kumar, RI Ritu Kumar, aarké, and Ritu Kumar Home and Living. Reliance Retail Ventures bought out private equity firm Everstone Group’s 35 per cent stake in the company to complete the deal to acquire majority share of the company.
The acquisition by the company comes close on the heels of Reliance Brand’s strategic tie-up with another designer label Manish Malhotra. Reliance Brands last week signed a definitive agreement to invest in founder and creative director Manish Malhotra’s eponymous brand for a 40 per cent minority stake.
Isha Ambani, Director, Reliance Retail Ventures, said, “Very few countries can match the sophistication, style and originality of design, especially in printing and painting of textiles and weaves, found in India. 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 honour and recognition they deserve in international couture.”
Retail majors of late have been seen trying to build the ethnic retail category aggressively. Aditya Birla Fashion and Retail in January this year acquired a majority stake in designer label Sabyasachi and then later in February it attained a 33 per cent stake in another designer label Tarun Tahiliani.
According to market estimates, the market for ethnic — men’s and women’s — is valued at about Rs 1.5 lakh crore. Experts say that about 88 per cent of the ethnic wear market is unorganised in India. The organised market, hence, is valued at Rs 17,000-18,000 crore. In the organised segment, about 40 per cent of the market belongs to brands in the value segment, 30 per cent is commanded by premium brands and 30 per cent by luxury brands.
Label Ritu Kumar which launched in 2002 is for a younger, global consumer of western pret. The third RI Ritu Kumar is a luxury bridal couture and occasion wear line, while aarké, the newest addition to the brand portfolio, is an accessible product line blending the aesthetics of Ritu Kumar in easy dressing meant to reach a larger consumer base. Ritu Kumar Home & Living is a category extension under Ritu Kumar for home accessories and furnishings.