Aditya Birla Fashion & Retail: Trendsetter
In its CSR commitments, Aditya Birla Fashion & Retail provides sustainable livelihood for 25,000 people and impacts the lives of 3,000 girl children
Photo Credit : Ritesh Sharma
The Jury’s Choice of BW Businessworld’s Most Respected Company in the apparel and textiles segment goes to a corporate entity that is a custodian of several icons, including four top fashion brands in India, namely Louis Philippe, Van Heusen, Allen Solly and Peter England. The sales at maximum retail price (MRP) for each of these brands in the Aditya Birla Fashion & Retail (ABFRL) stable was in the vicinity of Rs 1,000 crore in the year gone by. The company also owns India’s first fast-fashion youth brand ‘People’, India’s largest fully integrated fashion multi-brand outlet chain ‘Planet Fashion’, India’s largest premium international brand retailer, ‘The Collective’ and the British fashion icon ‘Hackett London’s’ mono-brand retail in India.
Aditya Birla Fashion & Retail evolved out of the consolidation of the branded apparel businesses of Aditya Birla Group, comprising ABNL’s Madura Fashion division and ABNL’s subsidiaries, Pantaloons Fashion and Retail (PFRL) and Madura Fashion & Lifestyle (MFL) in May 2015. The PFRL was then renamed Aditya Birla Fashion and Retail Ltd. Ashish Dikshit, Managing Director, ABFRL, has since added many stars to the group crown. The ABFRL’s 11th annual report states, “It is the people behind the brands who have made the company what it is.”
“With initiatives such as Fashion Forecasting,” says Dikshit, “it (ABFRL) has been instrumental in forecasting consumer trends by predicting and analysing information regarding colours, fabrics, silhouettes, styles, etc. The company has instituted several ‘Centres of Excellence’ to promote an environment of innovation. These centres, along with other initiatives, keep them well-informed of current consumer and market trends and help maintain leadership position.”
Aditya Birla Fashion & Retail has revamped its e-commerce websites and invested soundly in building an omni-channel presence across 2,465 stores in 750 cities around the country. In the 2017-18 financial year, ABFRL’s gross revenue was Rs 7,181 crore and its EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax depreciation and amortisation) was Rs 501 crore.
Group Chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla aims to make the Aditya Birla Group one of the most sustainable corporate houses in India. The company is also exploring the feasibility of using renewable energy in some of its operations. By 2017, ABFRL aims to achieve Green Building certifications for three facilities. The fashion retail house has set itself sustainability goals for 2020.Aditya Birla Fashion & Retail aims to reduce power consumption significantly, commit to zero waste to landfills, take preventive measures to safeguard against fatal accidents at work and significantly reduce its packaging footprint.
The company gives back to society in several ways. As part of its corporate social responsibility (CSR) commitments, ABFRL provides sustainable livelihood for 25,000 people and impacts the lives of 3,000 girl children. It creates 100,000 hours of employee volunteering. In a statement, Birla has said, “In our group 52 per cent of our executives are under 35 years of age. They are the leaders of tomorrow whom we need to groom today.” He has also spelt out ABFRL’s commitment to equal opportunities for women.“Today, women constitute over 14 per cent of our employee force,” Birla said.
Speaking at ABFRL’s 11th annual general meeting, Group Chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla had proudly declared that the best practices of the group had made it the best workplace. “I am delighted to share with you that Aon Hewitt, a reputed global consulting firm, in the ‘Best Employers 2018’ study conducted by them, have named our Aditya Birla Group as the ‘Best Employer’ in India,” Birla had announced. Employees corroborate the Aon Hewitt rating.
Says Abhinav Sinha, Group Manager of loyalty programmes at Pantaloons, “The people at the company are amazing and helpful. The management gives us space to execute ideas while allowing us to take a lead in programmes we are confident about. Everyone in the company is given an equal opportunity to grow.