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Reliance Retail Takes Majority Stake in Abraham & Thakore

Model Dia Mizra is flanked by Rakesh Thakore (left) and David Abraham (right) during the Abraham & Thakore show at FDCI x Lakmé Fashion Week 2021.
Model Dia Mizra is flanked by Rakesh Thakore (left) and David Abraham (right) during the Abraham & Thakore show at FDCI x Lakmé Fashion Week 2021. (Vaqaas Mansuri)

The retail giant has acquired the lifestyle, fashion and homewares brand founded by David Abraham and Rakesh Thakore, for an undisclosed sum.

For Abraham, the deal with Reliance Retail Ventures Limited (RRVL) means it can leverage the experience of its subsidiary, Reliance Brands Limited (RBL), in the luxury Indian retail sector to take the brand, first founded in 1992, from a relatively niche audience to a much broader base of consumers at home and, potentially, abroad as well.

“I think the journey that RBL in particular has taken in shaping the luxury retail landscape in India is pretty extraordinary because I’ve witnessed it. I was there before it began and [in a sense] they’ve created this luxury retail market,” he said, adding that the expansion of Abraham & Thakore’s retail presence, both physically and online would be a top post-deal priority.

In recent months RRVL and RBL, the retail-focussed subsidiaries of billionaire businessman Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries conglomerate, have been on a deal-making spree. In October came news of a 40 percent stake in luxury label Manish Malhotra, the acquisition of a majority stake in designer Rita Kumar’s fashion and homeware labels was announced later the same month and joint ventures were signed with designer Anamika Khanna in December and Indian couturier Rahul Mishra in January.

These brands all share a DNA that is, in differing ways, deeply entwined with India’s traditions of handicraft, drawing on artisanal textile arts that are, in many ways, unique to the country. But according to RBL managing director and chief executive Darshan Mehta, the key pillars that make an Indian brand suitable for RBL partnerships include a style with a “lasting signature”, as well as an openness to the “left brain skills” that RBL brings to the table in terms of big data, analytics, supply chain optimisation and more.

“We have these three platforms [sourcing, digital and retail] that we’re building with very talented people that [these brands] can tap into,” Mehta said. “I’ll only [get into a partnership with a brand] if I can truly add value to its journey.”

Learn more:

Indian Fashion Giants Continue to Bet on Traditional Apparel

Following investments in traditional Indian attire by rivals, including Tata Group and Aditya Birla Fashion and Retail (ABFRL), Reliance Retail plans on launching a chain of stores in the space under the name Avantra.

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