Diversified retail, textiles and cement conglomerate Aditya Birla Group is setting up an all-new separate business venture for branded jewellery, to directly rival Tata group’s Tanishq, two executives directly aware of the group’s plans said. The new venture will involve AB Group setting up large-format exclusive jewellery retail stores, launching in-house jewellery brands across daily-wear and premium price points, and tie-up with mid-sized jewellers, these executives said.
“The group has allocated a huge investment of ₹4,500-5,000 crore for the venture and is in the process of finalising a leadership team for the business,” one of the executives said. The ambitious venture is being directly overseen by group chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla. An Aditya Birla Group spokesperson said in an email revert: “We decline to comment on this speculative query”.
The $60 billion conglomerate’s flagship companies include Grasim Industries Hindalco Aditya Birla Fashion and Retail Aditya Birla Capital among many others. At group level, it has about 140,000 employees.
The ambitious business plan for branded jewellery is being set up at the group level, and will be independent of Aditya Birla Fashion and Retail’s (ABFRL) business.
In June, Aditya Birla Ventures, the venture capital arm of the Group, co-led a fund raise in silver jewellery-focused startup GIVA and raised Series B funding. “We believe silver jewellery, in particular, is ripe for significant growth across both online as well as offline channels,”
Aryaman Vikram Birla, founder of Aditya Birla Ventures, had said at the time of announcing the venture.
An October 2022 report by World Gold Council said India’s gold market is showing healthy retail demand and forecast a strong outlook for the sector.
“The outlook for gold demand (in October) remains strong. Elevated retail inflation and a weak rupee provide a mixed scenario for Indian gold demand,” the report said. “Gold is widely considered a hedge against inflation and currency depreciation in India, and retail as well as institutional investors may flock to bar, coin and gold ETFs to protect their wealth,” the report added.
The jewellery business remains largely unorganised in India. Among branded players, Titan’s flagship jewellery brand Tanishq leads others by a wide margin. Other brands under Titan group’s jewellery portfolio include Mia, Zoya and CaratLane. As of September this year, Titan had 488 jewellery stores in India across its portfolio of brands.
Other large jewellery players like Kalyan Jewellers, Joyalukkas Group and Malabar Gold & Diamonds have all reported strong revival of demand for jewellery, amid positive consumer sentiment after two years of pandemic-induced stress.
With revenue of ₹8,136 crore as on March 31, 2022, ABFRL’s fashion brands and retail formats operate across a network of 3,487 stores and over 30,000 multi-brand outlets.Birla said in an address at the company’s AGM that its projected revenue of ₹21,000 crore for year 2026 would surpass that target and set even higher milestones for the business going forward. “All our businesses have either come back or exceeded the pre-Covid levels,” he said.