The India chapter of the branded international apparel story is getting bigger by the day. Sanjay Lalbhai-owned Arvind Brands is set to expand its alliance with the $6-billion VF Corp, the world's largest publicly traded apparel maker, with the likely launch of at least three more brands from the latter's international portfolio.
Arvind Brands is poised to bring in Nautica and is also likely to look at brands like JanSport and Kipling in a bid to broadbase its product profile into non-apparel categories, according to informed sources.
Arvind has an existing decade long licensing agreement with VF Corp for jeans brands like Lee and Wrangler in India. These two brands will account for nearly Rs 150 crore in Arvind Brand's projected turnover of Rs 421 crore in the current financial year, 2005-06.
Sources said Arvind Brands has already sewed up the deal to bring in international designer wear Nautica by April next year starting with Delhi, while the other two brands could be launched subsequently.
VF Corp acquired Nautica, built by designer David Chu, in 2003 and has been expanding its global business since then. Arvind plans to take Nautica to other Indian metros like Mumbai and Bangalore by early 2007.
The Belgium-based Kipling, another acquired brand of VF Corp, is a lead player in the leather fashion accessories segment in the West with products primarily for women. It will have its first standalone flagship store in London this October, reflecting its growing popularity after VF acquired it in June 2004 and placed under its 'coalition' segment. Arvind is likely to take Kipling to the domestic market through the standalone fashion store route in A class urban markets.
Similarly, JanSport, another brand in the VF portfolio eyed by Arvind, falls into the backpack segment in its global positioning with its influence in sporting, hiking and travelling gears. The growing influence of international footwear brands like Nike, Reebok and Adidas is an indication of the opportunities which exist in an expanded sporting gear space, trade sources said. Arvind's move to look at brands like Kipling and Jansport is an indication that the company wants to diversify its revenue base outside the pureplay apparel market.