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Damani & Family seals Swadeshi stores deal

Over a century old Bombay-based Swadeshi Stores, which championed the Swadeshi Make movement or indigenously made products in the midst of calls to boycott British goods, has recently been acquired by D’mart chain of supermarkets Radhakishan Damani, said sources claiming that the buyers encouraged by the current government’s ‘Make in India campaign. The renowned freedom fighters of the country like Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Mummohandas Ramji and industrialist JRD Tata are stated to be its founding fathers and now Madhu Chandak, Manjri Chandak and Jyoti Kabra – family members of stock market investor and owner of over half of the stake of the 115-year old retailer’s stake at an investment of Rs 42 crore. The company, which runs around a dozen outlets in Mumbai, Hyderabad, Bangalore and Pune, also has a joint venture with Tourvest SA to run its stores in the offshore arena. As a matter of fact, Damani’s family members are acquiring the entire 52.3 % the stake of the promoter and will also extend an open offer for an additional 25 per cent stake to other players.
As per the deal agreement, Bombay Stores’ current managing director Asim Dalal is likely to remain on the board. In addition, the merchandise sourcing strategy could also be unchanged – the company tries to search ethnic designs across apparel, stationary and home decor products. Commenting on the emerging scenario, president at brand consultancy firm DY Works compared the chain with that of being run by New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art and said that the chain can use its history and glorious story to its advantage as the heritage value has never been the leveraged by the brand and may serve as a museum of the country retailing of India .The chairman of The Bombay Store, Milan Dalal, said that they are happy in the fact that such a prestigious brand is going into the right hands as it has such a long legacy and history and in the new hand it will expand exponentially. As such, it would have been unfair to limit The Bombay Store to just about a dozen stores in only 4 cities and hope that under the command of new owners it will scale newer heights in the country’s retail sector.

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