Arm of an Abu Dhabi-based firm will be India franchisee, first store to open in Bengaluru.
Tablez India, a unit of Abu Dhabi based LuLu Group is bringing US children retail brand Toys `R’ Us to India. Tablez has signed a master franchisee agreement with the US company for India and Sri Lanka and the company plans to invest $85 mil `570 crore) to open 65 Toys `R’ Us-branded outlets in India in the next 10 years.
“We will open the first store in Bengaluru next year and we are in talks with three developers and will close the deal by the end of this month,” said Adeeb Ahamed, managing director of Tablez.
“The first store will be full-fledged experiential store and looking at some 15,000-20,000 sq ft carpet area. The brand comes with two formats Toys `R’ Us and Babies `R’ Us.
Toys `R’ Us operates more than 850 eponymous and Babies `R’ Us stores in North America and its products are sold at 1,000 inter-stores in 37 countries.
Shafeena Yusuff Ali, the daughter of Abu Dhabi-based Indian billionaire MA Yusuff Ali, is spearheading Tablez. LuLu operates around 130 hypermarkets in 21 countries in the Middle East, Asia and Africa. “Our commitment is 65 stores in the next 10 years but we feel if the present market trend continues, we should be able to close that in the next eight years,” Ahamed said.
He added the company also has the licence to sell those brands online in India and is planning to have dedicated e-commerce site.
UK-based rival Hamleys has a joint venture with Reliance Retail and the alliance currently operates 22 outlets in various cities.
“Hamleys does not sit in the bracket where we are looking at. We are looking at the mass side of the market,” Ahamed said in an interview in New Delhi adding that majority of its toys and baby products will be priced in the range of `200-1,000. He said there is a huge potential for baby products in India as it is still very hard to find good baby products in the country.
Started a restaurant franchisee in the UAE about two-and-half years ago, Tablez today has expanded into a full-fledged retail company. It operates stores for US ice-cream brand Coldstone Creamery and South African Peri Peri chicken chain Galitos.
Ahamed says the company is in the process of signing two Spanish brands one fashion and other women essentials label and will bring to India a New York-based “Cult” cosmetic brand. He declined to name all three brands citing non-disclosure agreements.
“By the end of 2017 or early 2018 we will have a good basket size of 8-10 (international) brands,” Ahamed said.
Tablez has pledged to invest around `400 crore in retailing in India between 2013 and 2018.