India’s largest diamond and jewellery retailer by sales, Gitanjali has ambitious plans to expand its business in the UAE, its chairman said. The Group will spend $50 million to build its retail as well as B2B presence in the next 18-months, Mehul Choksi, chairman and managing director of Gitanjali Group told Khaleej Times in an interview. “We plan to open ten more stores and 75 shop-in-shops in the UAE,” he said. One store under the Nakshtra brand was opened last week in Lamcy Plaza and the other one will be opened in Meena Bazaar, next week. In Abu Dhabi, “we will be starting with one shop within this year,” the chairman said. Over the next three years, Choksi plans to further expand Gitanjali brand in this booming market, where consumer confidence and economic growth have bounced back. Choksi expected to bag over $100 million in sales in the first year of operations in the UAE which will include revenues from its retail and B2B operations covering the Gulf and the rest of the Middle East market. In the next three years time, sales are projected to be in the range of $150 million. With more than 4000 points of sale across India, Gitanjali is planning to make a big push into Russian and African markets also, its chairman said. The Jewellery retailer owns and distributes eight out of the top 10 jewellery brands in India including Gili, Nakshatra, Asmi, Damas, Sangini and Diya. The group owns two large retail chains in the US, Samuels and Rogers; and has recently acquired a number of premium Italian brands such as Stefan Hafner, Valente, IOSI, Poratti and Giantti. Choksi said these newly acquired Italian brands will be available for sale to customers at the Group’s upcoming outlets in Dubai. A group unit, Gitanjali Gems Limited which is listed on BSE, showed a growth in revenues by 33 per cent to Rs124.98 billion in the financial year ended March 31, 2012. The Gitanjali Group is one of world’s largest integrated conglomerates whose business spread across the entire value chain from processing rough diamonds to manufacturing, branding, retailing and distribution of gold and diamond jewellery and brands. The group have ‘50-shop-in-shops,’ located in jewellery and the departmental stores in the GCC, a business it entered 15-years ago and plans to increase its brand presence to 75 stores in 18-months, he said. Nakshtra’s new showroom in Lamcy Plaza displays Paisley, Mirage, Coronation, Vivaah, Signature and Solitaire as Diamond Collections and has also introduced a complete range of 22k Gold & traditional Polki Nizam collections to delight the Asian community. Nakshatra which was acquired by the Gitanjali Group in 2008, today boasts of 15 Mono Brand Showrooms and more than 1,000 points of sale in India.