Reliance Retail Has Acquired a Majority Stake In Iconic Indian Fashion Designer Ritu Kumar’s Firm


Isha Ambani-led Reliance Retail Ventures Limited (RRVL), the retail arm of Reliance Industries, has acquired a majority stake in iconic Indian fashion designer Ritu Kumar’s company Ritika Private Limited. Though the size of the deal has not been disclosed yet, RRVL has acquired a little more than 52% stake in the company.

RRVL had acquired the 35% stake that Singapore-based private equity firm Everstone held in Ritika Pvt Ltd after investing $16.6 million in the company in 2014. Reliance bought an additional 17% over and above that.

Over the years, the legacy couturier, Ritu Kumar, 76, who started the company in 1969, has set up several new brands across categories. Besides the flagship label Ritu Kumar that sells daily and semi-formal ethnic wear, it launched Ri, a premium bridal and formal wear in 2018, and Label, a more casual contemporary women’s wear brand. An everyday clothing brand Aarké was launched in March this year. The company, with its four fashion labels, has about 151 points of sales in the country and abroad.

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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.”

Just last week, Reliance bought a 40% stake in a fashion house run by another popular Indian designer, Manish Malhotra. And in January, Aditya Birla Fashion and Retail bought a 51% stake in the Sabyasachi brand, best known for its high-end wedding wear.

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 percent of the ethnic wear market is unorganized in India. The organized market, hence, is valued at Rs 17,000-18,000 crore. In the organized segment, about 40 percent of the market belongs to brands in the value segment, 30 percent is commanded by premium brands and 30 percent by luxury brands.

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