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Rediff.com  » Business » VF Arvind looks beyond apparels

VF Arvind looks beyond apparels

October 05, 2006 05:14 IST
The recently formed joint venture between VF Corporation, the US-based branded lifestyle products player, and Arvind Brands, the country's second-largest branded apparel house, is looking beyond apparel.

VF Arvind Brands, the joint venture that came into existence earlier this month, plans to launch three brands -- Nautica, Jansport and Kipling.

Two of VF Corporation's apparel brands -- Lee and Wrangler -- have been available in the country even before the JV was formed.

Eric Wiseman, chairman of VF Arvind Brands and president of VF Corporation, said, "We have made an entry at a perfect time since the Indian retail market is poised to change in the next 10 years. Indian consumers are gradually moving towards international brands."

"Initially, the joint venture will focus on strengthening and consolidating the five brands -- three new and existing two. The idea is to create a critical mass for the five brands before introducing other brands," he added. Arvind executives said Nautica would offer home accessories such as sofa sets and crockery, among others.

Besides, it would also retail a range transcending from eyewear to perfume to executive bag.

Another brand under the VF portfolio, Kipling, would be introduced by the JV. The brand would offer a collection of backpacks, shoulder bags, laptop bags and wallets, they said.

The Nautica stores in the country would be similar to the Nautica outlets in Europe and the US, the executives said. The firm is also in talks with a host of multi-brand outlets and malls.

Darshan Mehta, CEO of VF Arvind Brands, said, "All the products will be sourced from the international market."

The joint venture, expected to give Arvind Brands a boost in the domestic apparel retail business, will focus mainly on six markets -- Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Pune, Chennai and Hyderabad. To begin with, Nautica will be available in four exclusive stores, while Kipling in five exclusive outlets in these markets.

"The branded Indian apparel market is approximately $4.4 billion and continues to grow. There is tremendous opportunity to market VF's highly popular lifestyle brands and grow VF's business in India," Mehta said.

While Arvind holds 40 per cent in VF Arvind Brands, VF Corp has paid $33 million for a 60 per cent equity in the joint venture.

VF's business in India is currently estimated at $40 million and is expected to grow by over 25 per cent during the current financial year. VF Corp is known worldwide for expanding its business through acquisitions.

At present, it owns well-known lifestyle products such as Riders, Rustler, Vanity Fair, Vassarette, Bestform, Lily of France, John Varvatos, Eastpak, the North Face, Vans, Reef, Napapirji, Lee Sport and Red Kap.

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