The reclusive CEO of the Tata group's retail arm Noel Tata finally chose to speak exclusively to NDTV after his company sealed a distribution and retailing tie up with Italy's Benetton group for their fashion brand Sisley.
Trent is planning 20-30 Sisley stores in five years and expects a revenue of Rs 100 crore from Sisley stores. For Benetton the tie up could not have come at a better time, after all India is its fastest growing market.
"India is a huge opportunity and we are expecting $55 million business from here, we are expecting 60 per cent growth in 2007 itself," said Alessandro Benetton, Executive Vice Chairman, Benetton.
When asked if Trent was slow in expansion plans while others are leapfrogging, Noel Tata was candid saying that the high real estate prices will slow down others as well.
"I admit we are slower but that is the way we want grow maintaining our quality, we are looking to triple our stores in next 3 to 5 years. Going forward real estate will be huge issue, I see it going worse in the future with the rentals soaring further," Noel Tata said.
No umbrella brand
But is there a scope for Tatas to bring their various retail operations like Croma and Trent that house Westside, Star bazaar & landmark under one umbrella to capitalise on synergies.
"The group companies have their own growth plans and there is no need for that yet, Croma, Titan, Tanishq and Trent are all growing on different platforms and will remain that way," Noel Tata said.
Noel Tata may be slow with his retail expansion but he clearly has an action plan in place, he knows venturing into fashion and premium segment will bring him better margins than mass retailing and that is exactly why tie ups with Benetton is on his priority list.