Superdry to open in India

MUMBAI: British fashion brand Superdry, worn by celebrities such as David Beckham and Pippa Middleton, is coming to India through a tie-up with Reliance Brands. Reliance Brands, a unit of Mukesh Ambani-controlled Reliance Industries, has signed a 20-year licensee agreement the UK’s SuperGroup, owners of the premium-to-luxury Superdry label.

“We spot the wave internationally on brands having traction… Superdry is a big star in that and is a rage globally,” Darshan Mehta, chief executive of Reliance Brands, said. “Superdry is a more affordable brand than other luxury brands available in the market. Yet, it is high in fashion and wearable,” he said.

A Superdry T-shirt will typically cost Rs 2,200-3,300 while a pair of jeans will cost Rs 5,500-8,250. This price point positions it just above brands such Tommy Hilfiger and below Diesel, which Reliance Brands handles in India. Theo Karpathios, chief executive of wholesale and international division at SuperGroup, said the decision to enter India followed many months of research into a long-term potential of this market. “Reliance resonates a great synergy with our brand and lifestyle with their vision for Superdry being closest to our own,” he said.

Superdry has 81 standalone stores in the UK and Ireland as well as 71 concessions in the House of Fashion, Harrods and Selfridge’s. In the last 18 months, the company has been aggressively expanding its international business, opening more than 130 stores across Europe, the US, Australia and Middle East.

Superdry has a policy of no advertisements or celebrity endorsement globally, yet a Brad leather jacket worn by football player David Beckham become a rage in the UK, selling 70,000 pieces from 2007 to mid-2009. Reliance Brands, which sells global branded products in India through joint ventures, plans to open at least five stores to sell Superdry products that combine vintage Americana fabrics with pseudo-Japanese text in the merchandise.

Reliance Brands currently operates 53 stores for a dozen brands including Diesel, Hamleys, Ermenegildo Zegna, Kenneth Cole and Timberland. The company is on an expansion spree, aggressively signing new brands and having plans to open 40 stores this year. This calendar alone it has partnered over six companies including Iconix Brand Group and Brooks Brothers. “It’s our brands pipeline that are fructifying now,” Mehta said. Most foreign brands entering the country prefer joint ventures or franchise agreement with Indian partners mainly to meet a mandatory commitment of sourcing 30 per cent of their merchandise from local small and mid-sized vendors .

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