Apparel major Raymond plans to open over 200 stores across the country in the next one and half years to grow its business.

“We have opened 100 stores in the last three months and plans to open 200 plus stores in the next 18 months” Raymond Ltd. Chairman and Managing Director Gautam Hari Singhania told PTI.

“We recently entered into Tier 3/4/5 cities and towns with our iconic brands. This will play out to further consolidate our end-to-end leadership position in the industry,” he said.

The Mumbai-based Raymond is the world’s third-largest maker of worsted fabric, used in making men’s suits, has at present, about 600 outlets across the country.

“We are bullish on the long term Indian consumption story and we believe in creating markets,” he said.

Asked about foraying into real estate business, Singhania said, the company is planning to develop 18 acre surplus land to develop affordable residential property in Thane Maharashtra in the first phase.

Raymond’s Thane unit covers an area of 160 acres, which also has a school and a hospital in it.

“Depending on the response to this project, we will decide our future strategy for the real estate business,” he said.

The company is appointing an internal team to start with, Singhania said, adding, it would gradually recruit experts for the real estate business.

The realty sector has caught the fancy of quite a few textile companies, including Bombay Dyeing, Century Textiles and Alok Industries.

Since most textile mills in Mumbai have shifted operations to the hinterland of Maharashtra or Gujarat, the land thus freed is being used by real estate developers for building residential and commercial complexes.

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