Murjani Looks Beyond French Connection, May Cut FCUK Line
Could sell the brand’s India business completely or settle for strategic investment
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.
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