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Dabur freezes retail expansion

Source: PTI
December 02, 2008 16:49 IST
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FMCG major Dabur India has decided to hold back the expansion plan of its newly launched retail arm with an aim of capitalising more from further downslide in retail rentals that the company is expecting.

While the company was earlier looking at having 12 to 15 stores by the end of fiscal 2008-09, it has now temporarily halted the ramp up for three-four months and hopes that retail rentals would fall further.

"The real estate crash is a golden opportunity for retail businesses like ours which are based on rentals. We are holding on to our investment plans for the moment as we believe that rentals would be going down further," the Dabur spokesperson said.

The company's retail arm H&B Stores inaugurated its first beauty and health segment retail outlet in March this year and currently operates seven such stores across various cities.

Meanwhile, the company on Tuesday confirmed that H&B Stores chief executive officer Peter Baker had left the company about a week ago.

"Baker was hired specifically for starting our retail arm and he successfully accomplished the job. The company is now being temporarily run by its management committee and it would announce the name of Baker's replacement in due course," a Dabur India spokesperson told PTI.

According to a Future Group official, Baker has taken up an assignment with Kishore Biyani promoted group. "Baker would be joining the company's health and wellness segment in a senior position and we would soon make an announcement in this regard," the official said.

Dabur, meanwhile, said that it would be adding between 10,000-15,000 sq ft of retail space by middle of the next year and would add another seven-eight stores.

Earlier this year, Dabur had announced plans for investing Rs 140 crore (Rs 1.4 billion) over the next five years in setting up 350 beauty and health segment outlets under the brand name of 'NewU'.

"Our investment and expansion plans remain in place. The present delay is only for three-four months while we wait the rentals to go down further," the spokesperson added.

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