Till six months ago, in his own words, Kishore Biyani was an “eternal optimist”. Today, he’s transformed into a “realist”. “It’s my next phase in life,” shrugs the Chairman of the Rs 8,600 crore Future Group, which has today moved away from retail into financial services (consumer finance and insurance), logistics & supply chain, retail media and brand development. “But I will never be a pessimist,” he adds for good measure.Serendipitiously, Biyani’s phase of eternal optimism coincided swimmingly with a dizzying bout of assetcreation by Pantaloon Retail (India) Ltd. Consider: The man who put up the first Pantaloons retail store in 1997 has been on overdrive ever since.
Result? A clutch of retail formats that cover some 9 million square feet of retail space in 55 cities (and 65 villages, courtesy the acquisition of a 70 per cent stake in Aadhar from Godrej).
These include five mature formats: Central (seven of such lifestyle malls), Pantaloons (40), Big Bazaar hypermarkets (90), six discount stores called Brand Factory, and 135 Food Bazaars.
That may well be the reason for Biyani gravitating towards financial services. After all, if you can’t get consumers to spend, you could attempt to tap their savings!