Moneycontrol
Last Updated : Jul 25, 2017 05:40 PM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

Lulu Group backed Tablez bets on offline retail in India, to invest Rs 300 crore

The company plans to launch brands Toys'R'Us and Babies'R'Us brands in India in next two months

Tablez India, the retail arm of UAE-based USD 6.2 billion hyper market retailer Lulu Group, is betting big on India in the coming months by launching brands such as Toys 'R' Us and Babies 'R' Us in the country, the company's CEO told Moneycontrol.

The company plans to 15 new stores in India as spending in other markets such as the US, EU, and the Middle East remains subdued.

“We don’t want to be known for just one or two brands. We want to create a portfolio which will allow buyers to shop with our brands 365 days a year. Food and apparel we already have. Now we are launching Toys R Us and Babies R Us. We are also looking at the cosmetics, sports retailing, and eyewear,” Adeeb Ahamed, managing director of Tablez told Moneycontrol.

Tablez, which assists international brands to set up shop in target markets through a franchise model, has charted out an aggressive expansion plan for India.

The company that entered India in 2013 wants to open at least 15 new F&B stores year-on-year across brands, to create its presence in every retail category.

Tablez India is currently in talks with a major sportswear brand, and a cosmetics brand in the US, to bring them to India.

The company has also bagged a master franchise agreement with US brand Toys “R” Us and Babies “R” Us and plans to launch the brands in India within two months. The first stop will be Bangalore, moving on to Mumbai.

The company is also pushing the international brands to source locally here in India and says that all brands under Tablez will source about 15 percent of the products in the domestic market by FY19.

“Sourcing locally is important to maintain margins and profitability. Some amount of local sourcing is obligated, but the share can go up as necessary,” Ahamed said.

Currently, Tablez operates 9 outlets in India of several international brands such as American ice cream parlour chain Cold Stone Creamery, the South Africa-based flame-grilled chicken concept Galito's, and Tablez' own brand Bloomsbury's, which is a boutique cafe and bakery.

The company is now launching the Spanish fashion brand Springfield and Women'secret in Bangalore. The company plans to add at least 200 more stores across all these brands in next five years.

By December this year, Tablez is targeting to grow its network of 9 stores to 30, Ahmed said.

Tablez is investing close to Rs 300 crore in next five years for the expansion.

Ahamed expects that the expansion will give a boost to the company’s revenue to reach Rs 30 crore by the end of FY18. In FY17, the company generated Rs 9 crore in revenue.

“There is a huge influence of international brands in India, especially in apparel and food. We are confident that the brands we get here will have significant traction,” Ahmed said. India currently accounts for just 1 percent of the total business.

Tablez, which entered India in 2013, operates the country’s largest hyper market at Kochi in Kerala. It has about 22 outlets across the UAE.

However, in a market where go-online is the buzzword, Tablez is swearing on the brick-and-mortar concept.

“We don’t want to go online right away. We are very confident of the brick-and-mortar model. Users first need to see and feel the brand products. We will look at online presence maybe in two years time,” Ahmed added.

For now, the company wants to invest in in-store technological capabilities such as analytics, easy mobile access to catalogues and prices, and real-time store information.

While companies in India such as Myntra are adopting online-first strategies, Ahamed feels that Indian consumers are yet to see mass adoption of brands that can be bought online only.

On the contrary, several online brands such as Lenskart, Urban Ladder, PepperFry, and Amazon, have explored the offline space to reach out to users for a personal experience.
First Published on Jul 25, 2017 04:29 pm
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