Mumbai: Kishore Biyani’s Future group has partnered UK clothing and homeware retailer Laura Ashley that runs about 450 stores globally and Future will have exclusive rights to make and sell merchandise as well as wholesale distribution in India.
While Laura Ashley, which was well known in the 1980s for its floral dresses, has a clothing line as well, Future Group has signed the licensing deal for its larger business – home furnishings.
“We are trying to bring aspirational products within Home-Town as there is enough potential in the market. We are reworking on a strategy for specialty business and will partner or bring more global brands in the category,” Future Group CEO Biyani said. “We will also house the brand within department store Central and open at least 15 stores in the next few years.”
About a year ago, Future Group acquired FabFurnish and said it will spin it off with furniture retail format Hometown to create a separate listed entity with target revenue of Rs 1,000 crore.
While three-fourths of the furniture and home-furnishings industry in India is controlled by standalone stores and carpenters, nearly half a dozen ecommerce players, including Flipkart and Amazon, have entered the market in the recent past. Hometown has 37 stores at present. Global giant Ikea will open its first Indian store this year in Hyderabad and plans to open 25 stores — each large enough to fit about four football fields — in the country by 2025.
Rising demand for high value items that offer big margins is driving foreign interest towards India’s furniture industry, market experts said.