Hard knocks push Birla into Flipkart embrace

Hard knocks push Birla into Flipkart embrace

Three years after quitting online fashion, the $48 billion Aditya Birla Group realizes there is no future without it.
27 October 2020
Dark Mode
You can always update your display preferences in Settings menu

In 2017, barely two years into launch, the Aditya Birla Group decided to shutter apparel e-commerce site abof.com, unable to stand its ground in the face of heavy discounting giants like Flipkart and Amazon. 

Ironically, however, ahead of the launch of Abof, short for Aditya Birla Online Fashion, in October 2015, Kumar Mangalam Birla, chairman of the $48 billion group, told television channel CNBC-TV18 that he aimed to be among the top three players in the fashion market in five years. 

Cut to the present. Birla has sold a stake in his branded apparel business to Walmart-owned Flipkart, one of three dominant players in the online fashion space. He has parted with a 7.8% stake in group firm Aditya Birla Fashion and Retail Ltd, or ABFRL, which sells brands like Allen Solly, Peter England, Van Heusen and Louis Philippe, and also houses the Pantaloons chain of multi-brand apparel stores.

So, in five years, Birla has walked back his ambition of wanting to be

Everything you need to know. Only with TMC.
The Morning Context’s mission is to build an independent, credible media company, which tells stories that matter. On the internet, business and chaos.
We ensure that our stories has an original point of view, covers new ground in critical analysis of the business, is an investigation into why something happened and makes sense of the complex world around us. Check out what else we have to offer.
Why choose


Information and analysis you won’t find anywhere else

Read in-depth explainers, stories of startup battles and honest, genuine interviews.

Independent and unbiased journalism

We’re not afraid to write hard-hitting stories—we serve you, the reader.

Premium newsletters

Get insights from some of the best writers in India right in your inbox.

TMC Dialogues

Be a part of our exclusive subscriber community and discussions.

Get all the news from our categories
Reader’s quotes
What our reader’s love about TMC.
Research ideas don't come from a vacuum. The best ideas come from a spark, a contrarian take, an uncommon investigative insight, and one doesn't always get these from traditional media. TMC consistently makes me think about things in different ways, and I've frequently shared TMC articles with collaborators and students. Staying at the cutting edge is hard enough; TMC makes it much easier.
Rohit Chandra, Assistant Professor - School of Public Policy (IIT Delhi)
High quality, independent journalism is rare to find. The Morning Context set really high standards that make me wait for each story.
Abhay Pandey, Managing partner, A91 Capital
Well-written and researched long form reads on a wide variety of topics and a team of veteran journalists - all of this makes my subscription worth it.
Anupam Gupta, Investment research consultant
In today's very noisy and cluttered world, I like that the Morning Context goes below the surface of company PR to deliver fact-based stories on Indian business.
Jessie Paul, CEO, Paul Writer
The Morning Context is my daily opportunity to get smarter about one new company/sector. Discerning analysis, unbiased and approachable.
Miten Sampat, Angel investor & former CSO, Times Internet
In today's polarized world, authentic and unbiased facts are in short supply world over. The Morning Context is a refreshing approach towards truthful, well researched, fearless, and high-quality articles on contemporary topics.
N S Parthasarthy, Co-founder, Mindtree
In a world full of noise, The Morning Context is the calm that stimulates and energises your mind, with stories focused on fact, truth and dogged reportage.
Nikhil Taneja, Co-founder and CEO, Yuvaa
Although it’s a paid subscription, the kind of detailed research and quality of reportage makes it worth every rupee. It’s strength surely lies in having some of the finest journalists writing for it.
Shiladitya Bora, Producer, distributor and founder at Platoon One Films
As one of the early subscribers, I've had the opportunity to witness how quickly the team has grown, the variety of angles covered, and the research in every in-depth story and op-ed.
Amarjit Batra, Managing director, Spotify India
More questions? Let us help
Contact us