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Aditya Birla Fashion and Retail Doubles Down on DTC Brands

Fast fashion chain Pantaloons is just one of ABFRL's many fashion brands. Shutterstock
Fast fashion chain Pantaloons is just one of ABFRL's many fashion brands. (Shutterstock)

The Indian fashion retail giant will set up a new entity to acquire and incubate digital-first fashion, beauty and lifestyle brands, according to regulatory filings.

In essence, this marks the entrance of Aditya Birla Fashion and Retail Limited (ABFRL) into India’s increasingly crowded field of direct-to-consumer brand incubators. Various firms, including 10Club, Upscalio, and Mensa, have raised hundreds of million of dollars in investment over the past 12 months or so, though ABFRL said its venture will be self-funded for now.

“At an appropriate time, the company will look to bring in external capital to accelerate the growth journey,” ABFRL said in part in a statement.

The group has already been on something of an investment spree. Last month, it acquired a 51 percent stake in House of Masaba Lifestyle Private Limited and in 2021 it took stakes in Indian luxury labels Sabyasachi and Tarun Tahiliani. The group also recently signed a long-term licensing agreement to exclusively sell Reebok products in India and other ASEAN countries.

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Last week, ABFRL reported three-fold jump in its net profit to 196.8 crore rupees ($26.35 million) for the third quarter ended Dec. 31. Its revenue from operations rose 43.87 percent year-on-year, but expenses also increased 36.52 percent year-on-year, to 2,744.35 crore rupees ($367.4 million) in the quarter.

Learn more:

India’s Thrasio Clones Continue to Attract Investment

In a model made famous by US outfit, Thrasio, a bunch of Indian startups, including 10Club, Upscalio, and Mensa, are buying up and scaling digital brands with the aim of becoming the country’s online version of P&G or Unilever.

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