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What Biyani’s future looks like

Kishore Biyani’s revamped retail strategy is centered around fashion and grocery. But will the retail czar get it right this time around?

Photographs by Soumik Kar

Dressed in a dapper Nehru jacket, Kishore Biyani took the centre stage at a jam-packed Ballroom at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Mumbai on a Tuesday evening. The occasion was the unveiling of Biyani’s grand vision, titled Retail 3.0 — a 30-year roadmap on how he expects the Future group’s second innings in retail to pan out. In his opening remarks, Biyani sounded his usual self: blatantly ambitious. “It’s been 30 years since we started out and when we said what 2047 would look like, there was clearly an opportunity for us to be Asia’s largest integrated consumer business. I am being little arrogant in saying the word ‘largest’ but I will try to prove that,” quipped Biyani.

As the slides swept through the massive screen on stage, it was amply getting clear that Biyani was not giving up on his vision of being numero uno in retail despite having paid the price for his gargantuan appetite in his earlier attempt.

After making its presence felt in large format stores, Future group is now making a bid for dominance over the neighbourhood grocery store format, leveraging its existing network of 700 stores across various retail brands such as Easyday, Nilgiris, Heritage Foods’ retail business, Big Apple and most recently HyperCity, and opening at least 10,000 member-only relatively smaller stores across the country by 2022. As a first step, Biyani is looking to expand the Easyday network from 700 stores to 1,100 stores by the end of the current fiscal. That means, around 9,000 new stores would come up over the next five years at the rate of close to five stores every single day — though it’s not clear whether it would be organic or inorganic.

Kishore Biyani, founder, Future GroupBy any yardstick, these are ambitious targets, especially given that Biyani had burnt his fingers in the past by venturing into every opportunity that came his way — be it e-commerce, small stores or financial services. So, why is Biyani priming up for yet another ambitious odyssey, and what makes him so conf

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