Adeeb Ahamed, MD, Tablez India. (Photographer: Nishant Sharma/BloombergQuint)

Dubai’s Lulu Group Brings Toys ’R’ Us To India

Toys R Us , one of the world’s largest toys stores, finally opened its first store in India in Bengaluru today.

Toys ‘R’ Us has partnered with Tablez India, the retail arm of Dubai-based $6.2 billion LuLu Group, as an exclusive master franchisee and is looking to set up 65 such stores with a combined investment of $50 million in the coming 10 years in the country, Adeeb Ahamed, managing director of Tablez India told BloombergQuint in an interview.

To begin with, there will be two more stores in Bangalore, followed by one in Delhi.

We are also looking to expand to Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities and have finalized couple of locations for expansion next year, and will be mostly sourcing from local distribution centers.
Adeeb Ahamed, Managing Director, Tablez India

Tablez India, which entered the country’s market in 2013, assists international brand to set up shop in target markets through the franchise model.

At present, it has brought three food and beverage brands, such as American ice cream parlor chain Cold Stone Creamery, the South Africa-based flame-grilled chicken concept Galito’s, and Tablez’ own brand Bloomsbury’s, a boutique cafe and bakery. In apparel it has brought in Spanish fashion brand Springfield and Women’s Secret.

Ahamed added the firm plans to have a total of 30-odd stores by the end of this year.

“We want to become an everyday company where we would like to touch the lives of our consumers every single day through the various brands we would have in our portfolio. And all this would be a part of a loyalty programme,” he explained.

Source: Toys R Us
Source: Toys R Us

The group, which had committed an investment of Rs 300 crore in 2013 for five years, have already invested Rs 150 crore and will be spending another 80 crore in the next six to eight months.

Besides, Ahamed adds that the firm is now looking to pump another Rs 300 crore to fuel its expansion and bring more such international brands in the country. “We are currently in talks with major sportswear brands, and are looking to bring them to India.”

At a time when major offline players are moving online, Ahamed is bullish on the brick-and-mortar story. He added while an e-commerce platform is in the pipeline, but said it will take at least 12-24 months to try that strategy.

Inside Toys R Us store in Bengaluru. (Photographer: Nishant Sharma/BloombergQuint)
Inside Toys R Us store in Bengaluru. (Photographer: Nishant Sharma/BloombergQuint)

“In the entire retailing scenario, the mall culture has skipped in India, and most of the brands haven’t focused on Tier 2 and 3 cities, that made people deprived of these brands, and hence people were dependent on marketplaces,” Ahamed said.

Tablez India is now looking to clock revenue of Rs 50 crore in FY18 and with aggressive expansion Ahamed believes they will be able to double the numbers in FY19.