Mur­jani Looks Be­yond French Con­nec­tion, May Cut FCUK Line

Could sell the brand’s In­dia busi­ness com­pletely or set­tle for strate­gic in­vest­ment

The Economic Times - - Brands: Creating Desire - DRIV­ING GROWTH 1,05,040 99,090

Dairy con­sumed largely by end con­sumers but oil find­ing tak­ers in pro­cessed food in­dus­try

Oil comes with a higher price tag com­pared to dairy prod­ucts on a sim­i­lar pack size clut­ter. Of late, how­ever, the Lon­don-listed com­pany’s for­tunes have tracked those of other high-street brands, and sales have fal­tered at the re­tailer as con­sumers switch in­creas­ingly to Web-based pur­chases. BMI launched FCUK in In­dia in 2008, open­ing sev­eral re­tail out­lets for the brand. Later, it also de­vel­oped the brand’s ecom­merce site in the coun­try, when on­line re­tail picked up in 2013. The com­pany also man­aged the brand’s sale on plat­forms such as Ama­zon, Myn­tra, and Jabong. BMI had also ac­quired FCUK’s li­cens­ing rights for neigh­bour­ing coun­tries, such as Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Nepal, Pak­istan and Bangladesh, launch­ing the brand in the In­dian sub­con­ti­nent for the first time. The Mur­jani Group has a long his­tory in the re­tail busi­ness in In­dia, start­ing with Glo­ria Van­der­bilt jeans in the 1970s. Sub­se­quently, it launched sev­eral in­ter­na­tional brands such as Gucci, Tommy Hil­figer, Calvin Klein, French Con­nec­tion, TM Lewin and Orig­i­nal Pen­guin in In­dia.

In 2011, Tommy Hil­figer bought Mur­jani Group’s li­cense for the Tommy Hil­figer brand in In­dia af­ter it bought a 50% stake in Arvind Mur­jani Brands (AMB), which was a joint ven­ture be­tween the Mur­jani Group and ap­parel re­tailer Arvind Brands. Later, in 2014, the group sold its 49% stake to Arvind in the Calvin Klein busi­ness.

Glob­ally, French Con­nec­tion has been loss-mak­ing for the past sev­eral years. Its in­vestors have raised con­cerns over the dwin­dling cash flow po­si­tion. It has been fac­ing stiff com­pe­ti­tion from re­tail­ers such as Zara and H&M, which have suc­ceeded in grab­bing a larger pie of the young shop­pers in­ter­na­tion­ally as well as in In­dia.

55,060 65,390 69,010 75,730 85,790 87,630 Shamb­havi Anand & Ra­sul Bailay

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