Spencer’s to open café chain, ties up with US firm


Kolkata : The RPG Group-promoted Spencer’s Retail Ltd (SRL) has joined hands with Boston-based leading dining and bakery cafe chain Au Bon Pain to set up bakery café stores across India, the company announced here Tuesday.

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The first store of the joint venture would come up in Bangalore within the next six months,” RPG Enterprises vice-chairman Sanjiv Goenka told a press conference.

“In the first phase, we will open 100 stores across India, of which most would come up in southern India within the next 18 months. The total investment for setting up this café chain would be around Rs.500 million ($12 million),” Goenka said.

A joint venture, Novel Confectioners Ltd, has been formed between SRL and Varin Narula, Au Bon Pain’s master franchisee in India.

“Bangalore will be a better place for us to start our first standalone store and a factory, as the city is already familiar with the name ‘Au Bon Pain’ – a place of good bread. Au Bon Pain will have no equity in this venture but it’ll just be our franchisee,” Goenka said.

SRL, a part of Rs.135-billion ($3.2 billion) RPG Entreprises, is a multi-format food-first retailer providing a range and assortment of products. The organisation has 400 stores, including 30 large format stores, across 66 cities in India.

“Presently we are focusing on the southern part of India, mainly in Bangalore, Hyderabad and Chennai, to open this bakery café chain. Later, the company would go for expansion in the northern parts of the country, followed by the eastern and western states,” Goenka said, adding that most of the stores will have interior space of around 1,200-1,500 square feet.