FABINDIA BUYS 25% IN UK RETAILER EAST

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INDIAN ethnicwear chain Fabindia has picked up a 25% stake in UKbased womenswear retailer EAST for an undisclosed amount, with an option to acquire the rest of the shares in three years, the New Delhi-based company confirmed.

“The synergy between the two is apparent not only in products but also in the approach and sourcing,” Fabindia MD William Bissell said. EAST, with annual revenues of £30 million, sells its products through 52 exclusive outlets in upmarket London and also through high-end department store John Lewis.

Fabindia, with annual revenues of Rs 300 crore, will now have its finance director, Sunil Chainani, joining the board of EAST. Mr Chainani said the transaction would make significant additions to Fabindia’s balance sheet. Brand EAST also stands to gain in India as well as in other emerging markets such as Dubai, Qatar and Bahrain, where Fabindia is already present, he said.

The talks between Fabindia and EAST, which went on for several months, had reportedly broken down sometime ago over valuation, but UKbased Compass Advisors helped Fabindia seal the deal.

EAST, originally called Anokhi, was started by Clive Pettigrew, Penny Oliver and Jonathan Keating in 1986 with a focus on Jaipur textile and fashion products. The stores were rebranded EAST in 1994 and have since grown to 77 outlets, which include 18 John Lewis stores.

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