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Despite slump, Biyani opens 150 stores in 3 months

Raghavendra Kamath in Mumbai | October 20, 2008 10:31 IST

There is no stopping Kishore Biyani, the country's leading retailer.

At a time when most retail firms have either gone slow in opening new stores or closed down some to beat the ongoing slump, the Future Group has opened nearly 150 stores across all its formats over the past three months.

This month alone, Biyani is opening 15 stores, mainly selling electronic and lifestyle goods.

He plans to have a total retail space of 15-16 million sq ft by March 2009 from 11 million sq. ft in FY08 and aims to target a total revenue of Rs 10,000 crore (Rs 100 billion), up from Rs 6,500 crore (Rs 65 billion) in the previous financial year.

Last friday, Future Group opened Ethnicity, which sells Indian ethnicwear products in Ahmedabad. It plans to open three more such stores in Mumbai and Bangalore.

"I have never said there is no slowdown. The overall economic condition is bad and trading is affected. But at the same time we see strong consumer demand to drive our business," Future Group CEO Kishore Biyani said.

Like other retailers, Biyani is also upbeat about the upcoming Hindu festival of Diwali to bring in more revenues.

"We are yet to see the impact of Diwali, but the festival never disappoints retailers,'' he said.

"We expect sales growth at 10-15 per cent or even higher in some categories like clothing,'' said Rakesh Biyani, chief executive officer, Future Retail.

"The group expects sales of Rs 175 crore (Rs 1.75 billion) in consumer durables this October, more than double registered in the same period last year.

"Meanwhile, to beat the slump, the Future Group is focussing low-cost formats and cutting costs over the next 12 months.

These formats include no-frills low cost store KB's Fair Price Stores, small convenience store format Big Bazaar Best Deals; rural retail venture Aadharand home solutions venture Home Town.

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