NEW DELHI — In a major investment by one of the foremost retail chains in India, Aditya Birla Fashion and Retail Limited has acquired a majority stake in Sabyasachi, one of the country’s leading designer labels.
ABFRL, which has more than 3,025 stores in India, has purchased 51 percent of the Sabyasachi brand for 3.98 billion rupees, or $54.62 million, boosting Sabyasachi’s dream of creating a global luxury brand out of India.
Sabyasachi Mukherjee — popularly known just as Sabyasachi, or Sabya to those who know him — has been growing his brand steadily, with his sarees being a bridal dream as well as strong fashion statements. His accessories and jewelry have added to the brand’s strength.
With five stand-alone stores in the cities of Mumbai, Delhi, Hyderabad and Kolkata, his company had revenues of 2.74 billion rupees, or $37.6 million, in the year ending March 31, 2020.
He is also known for his slew of collaborations, most famously with shoe designer Christian Louboutin, and in 2020 a travel line in collaboration with H&M India, the fast fashion retailer’s first with an Indian designer. In 2020, he also had a special jewelry pop-up at Bergdorf Goodman in New York.
An astute businessman as well as designer, Sabyasachi — who is followed closely by the Indian diaspora across the world, with franchises across India, the U.S.,
U.K and the Middle East — has been clear about his path ahead.
“Over the course of the last couple of years, as my brand evolved and matured, I began searching for the right partner in order to ensure continuity and long-term sustainable growth,” he said.
The collaboration strengthens the ethnic wear portfolio of ABFRL, which already operates a slew of Western brands in India. The country’s first $1 billion pure-play fashion retailer with revenues of 87.88 billion rupees, or $1.2 billion, in the year ending March 31, 2020, the retailer has brands like American Eagle, Ralph Lauren, Hackett London, Ted Baker and Fred Perry. Strengthening its portfolio in fashion with acquisitions, the ABFRL purchased the well-known Pantaloons stores from the Future Group in 2012, giving it strength in the value segment, and adding to an earlier acquisition of brands from the Bengaluru-based Madura Garments Lifestyle Retail, which included brands Louis Philippe, Van Heusen, Allen Solly and Peter England.
With an eye on the strong ethnic wear market in India, the investment brings in an additional strong base of consumers.
“We see a ‘Made in India’ global brand like Sabyasachi occupying the pinnacle of our ethnic wear portfolio,” Ashish Dikshit, managing director of ABFRL, said in a statement, underlining the ambitions of the group to craft a portfolio that addresses the entire gamut of ethnic wear segments: value, premium and luxury. “The Sabyasachi brand, through its emphasis on excellence in design and craftsmanship has set new benchmarks and captivated the imagination of the sophisticated global Indian consumer.”