Aditya Birla's fashion unit to open Galeries Lafayette stores in India

BENGALURU (Reuters) -Indian retailer Aditya Birla Fashion and Retail Ltd (ABFRL) said it had entered into a partnership with Galeries Lafayette to open stores of the French luxury retailer in the country in the next two to three years.

The Indian firm said it would open two flagship stores - one in Mumbai by 2024 and another in New Delhi a year later - housing over 200 luxury and designer brands. It added it will also launch an e-commerce platform.

The retail and fashion unit of Aditya Birla group and the rival unit owned by billionaire Mukesh Ambani's Reliance Industries Ltd have both gone on a shopping spree for premium brands in the past few years as they compete for a stronger foothold in the fashion space.

Early this year, ABFRL bought a 51% stake in House of Masaba Lifestyle and picked up exclusive rights to sell global sportswear brand Reebok's products in India.

ABFRL also bought a 51% stake in luxury wedding wear brand Sabyasachi last year, while Reliance Retail bought 52% of designer label Ritu Kumar in October.

"The partnership with Galeries Lafayette is a ringing endorsement of India's significance as a global luxury market and a future engine of growth for luxury brands," ABFRL's Managing Director Ashish Dikshit said.

Galeries Lafayette Chief Executive Nicolas Houzé said the expansion to India is a part of its aim to set up 20 stores outside France by 2025, "with a primary focus on China, Asia, and the Middle East".

The luxury retailer already has a network of 65 stores in France and abroad.

Aditya Birla also owns rights to sell branded clothes from Forever 21, American Eagle Outfitters, and Ralph Lauren, among others, in the country.

(Reporting by Nandan Mandayam in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi Aich and Janane Venkatraman)