Saks Fifth Avenue to launch in India

SAKS FIFTH AVENUE is partnering with Aditya Birla Group to launch the first stores of the American department store in India, starting with New Delhi and Mumbai. The first Saks Fifth Avenue will likely open in New Delhi’s Aerocity, according to three people familiar with the development.

Saks has appointed Aditya Birla Fashion and Retail as the India franchisee and the first outlet is expected to come up in Bharti Realty’s Worldmark 2, said one of the persons with direct knowledge of the negotiations.

“Aditya Birla Group is in a late stage of discussions” to lease 100,000 sq ft of space in Worldmark 2, where the first Saks outlet in India will open, he said. The Aditya Birla group is also scouting for space in Mumbai for the second Saks department store there.

Originally located on the Metropolitan Building in downtown Kolkata, Whiteaway Laidlaw was once the class benchmark for department stores operating in Asia.

For the Saks venture, CBRE is acting as a real-estate consultant, according to two people cited above. CBRE did not respond to an email sent on Friday.

The second person added that Saks could open the first store later this year or early next year, depending on how the negotiations proceed.

Aspokesperson for Aditya Birla Fashion declined to comment saying the company does not comment on “market stories”. Saks did not respond to an email seeking comments while a spokesperson for Bharti Realty declined to comment.

Saks’ flagship outlet on the Fifth Avenue in Manhattan in New York is believed to generate about $700 million annual business for the company. Saks has been in talks with Aditya Birla for more than two years, according to sources.

In New Delhi, Saks store will compete with DLF’s luxury mall Emporio, that is home to single-brand luxury stores of Louis Vuitton, Hermes, Giorgio Armani, and Gucci.

Bharti Realty’s mix-land development Worldmark has over 1.4 million sq. ft. commercial and retail space, consisting of about 900,000 sq ft of office space and 500,000 sq ft of high-end retail space. The facility also houses Kishore Biyani-owned Central mall that is spread over 100,000 sq ft.

Aditya Birla Fashion owns various brands including Louis Philippe, Van Heusen, Allen Solly and Pantaloons department stores, among other labels. In May 2015, Aditya Birla Group had merged its units Madura Fashion division, Pantaloons Fashion & Retail and Madura Garments Lifestyle Retail to create Aditya Birla Fashion and Retail Ltd.

Saks Fifth Avenue