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July 24, 2013

Kishore Biyani- Success Behind Future Group

Kishore Biyani- Success behind Future Group

Kishore Biyani is the man who changed the retail marketing scenario in India for good. The Indian Retail Czar, who proved that conventional wisdom can be easily replaced by “guts and instincts”, by setting up a billion dollar company “the Future Group”, all by himself. He is often referred to as “Sam Walter of India” as he brought the concept of discount marketing and destination malls to India. He is an enigma to the country’s progressing retail players, both nationally as well as internationally.

Early Life:

Kishore Biyani was born on August 9, 1961 in a middle class Rajasthani Family. Kishore Biyani was a socially active kid at school, who preferred to spend his time out with his friends, rather than being a book worm. Kishore Biyani was inspired by then released Bollywood movies that usually revolved around a rebellious young man, who would eventually make ends turn with his firm dedication and innovative atypical approach. Even in school, he opted to do things the unconventional way. For instance, when he was in 10th standard he organized a Disco Dandiya Raas gathering about 2000 people. At that time the concept of passes and contribution was prevalent, but he managed to convince sponsors and made the event totally free for the gathering. Thus, with a “out of box” set of mind, he marched towards establishing one of the biggest retail empires India had ever seen. Marwari by caste, his family had been into trading for generations, and even young Kishore Biyani was expected to carry forward the legacy and exercise the reigns of the family textile business, after completing his education.

Turning Point:

After earning his B Com degree, he started a small unit “Manz Wear” where stone washed cloth was being manufactured. Later this cloth was supplied in small scale garment shops on the streets of Mumbai. But, his stores were not considered to be very prestigious and were often not invited to investors’ conferences and even trade body meetings. As a matter of fact, Kishore Biyani confesses the fact that top stores of that time refused to give him a shelf space to display and stock his produce at their stores. Even today, he thanks all the stores that had shut their doors for him. This mildly humiliating experience inspired him to set up his own retail unit. Biyani wanted to change the mindset and carve out a reputation for his business.

Over the years, this retail experience evolved from “Patloon”, a small one room store venture in Gurgaon to “Pantaloon”, a multinational chain of stores. He also launched a lesser known brand known as “WBB-white blue brown”, which manufactured fabrics back in the 1980s. Also, he himself exclaims that his first venture was not as successful as successful as he had expected it to be. He says he had to borrow a sum of around 16 lakh rupees from the market, which was seen as a taboo by his family. Unfortunately, he could only manage to generate revenue of about 8 lakh rupees that particular year. Thus, Kishore Biyani has gone through many ups and downs during his early days in business, which has enriched him with hands-on experience and has given him a down to earth as well as practical approach towards life.


“Rewrite Rules, Retain Values”, this was his ideology from the day he set his first foot in retail business. He believed in thinking about the Indian consumers, treading in their shoes.  In his book “It happened in India”, he divides India into three sets- India One, India Two and India three. In his views, India one consisted of the elite that account for 14 percent of the Indian population, these were the people with a huge spending capacity. India Two consisted of the middle class, 55% of the Indian population who were generally not as spend thrift as the members of India One. India Two was the major set he was targeting as he thought it was the major chunk of the population, the main consuming class. Thus, his venture Big Bazaar concentrated on this set of people, understanding their needs and lifestyles. Big Bazaar was a huge success; it drew many customers with its strong advertising techniques.

From the 1980’s to the new millennium 2000, Kishore Biyani tried his luck in a number of ventures. Finally, his struggles paid off, and he successfully set the roots of the giant “Big Bazaar”. Despite opposition from his family members, tones of debt from the market and all other odds, he successfully rose as the retail king of India. 

His Pillar of Support- his Family:

Though the Biyani family initially was against his unconventional ways of tackling business, but had always been his support in good as well as bad times. Kishore Biyani was brought up in a joint family, and he has made sincere efforts to keep the family integrated. He has absorbed his

entire family into the Future Group. His family members hold significant managerial positions in the firm, while he hires professionals to cater to the other specialized needs of the business. His wife, Sangeeta Biyani has been extremely supportive of his ventures. It was her words that inspired Kishore Biyani to stretch and progress towards another venture at the time his business was popular yet stagnant.

It happened In India- his autobiography:

His autobiography opens with a story from January 26, 2006 when Big Bazaar had to be shut down to avoid damage. The reason being that the special offers available at Big Bazaar, had managed to attract a sea of people and the store had to be shut down temporarily due to security reasons.

In his book he has often been referred to as a simple “dukaandar (shopkeeper) with many shops”. The book clearly depicts the multi-format retail strategies invested in the Big Bazaar, Central Food Bazaar, Pantaloons, Ezone, Planet Sports, Home Town and other ventures of the Future Group. The autobiography has been studded with quotes, untraditional ideals and “out of the box” ways employed by Kishore Biyani. Over 1 lakh copies of the book have been sold so far, which is about 10 times more than any other business book.


Kishore Biyani recently received the prestigious Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Award of the Year, for his exceptional entrepreneurial skills. Also, in 2006 CNBC Indian Business Leaders presented him with “The First Generation Entrepreneur of the year” award and the same year he received the “Young Business Leader” award from IIM Lucknow National Leadership.

At Present:

Presently, Kishore Biyani is the CEO of the Future Group and MD (managing director) of Pantaloon Retail. He has managed to raise $170 million by making capital arm of Future Ventures public in March 2011. At present, his group successfully manages more than 17 million square feet of retail space in 90 cities and 60 rural locations spread in various parts of India.

Tags : Kishore Biyani, CEO, Future Group, success story

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I have been writing for almost 3 years now for various clients