Thursday, March 30, 2023

Bright prospects

In the full year of the pandemic, Fabindia saw its operative revenue fall by about a third, which still put it above the Rs.1,000 cr mark. Their profits nosedived and the bottomline turned red, though. It was only to be expected, with many of their 309 stores across the country remaining closed for a significant part of the year. But this has been a small setback in the growth of this 62-year old firm. Started by an American, John Bisell, in 1960 as a home-furnishings exporter, Fabindia today retails fabrics, garments, furniture, foods and personal care products. The idea of the firm is to provide a platform for traditional garment (and handicrafts, furniture, foods) makers. They have been doing it successfully enough to contemplate an IPO; given the choppy state of the stock markets today, that IPO which was scheduled to open on February 27 this year, has been pulled back. 

Chennai's first Fabindia store - for a very long time, the only one in the city - was opened on Woods Road sometime in the 1990s. It was in a building that was built sometime in the early 20th century and had an old-world charm, but also the staid feel that goes with some of such spaces. Over the past 10-15 years, many more outlets were opened in Chennai. 

One such was this one at the junction of TTK Road and Eldams Road. It is a 4-storey building completely dedicated to Fabindia and has all its products, including a cafe on the top floor. Sitting up there, it is a decent view of the roads below, and looking on to the CP Ramaswamy Iyer Road flyover. It is also a nice view from below, once the lights come on. With a lot of glass on its facade, we can look right in to the products on display and the chic people shopping there!


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