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British footwear brand Clarks & Future Group form retail JV

Oct '09
Kishore Biyani led Future Group and the leading UK shoe (brand) retailer, Clarks have agreed to form a joint venture to (build a strong Clarks brand) retail footwear in India.

India is one of the top three strategic markets for Clarks and the company has invested a lot of time and research over the last two years to establish the right strategy and partnership to develop the brand in India.

This has led to this Joint Venture partnership with Winner Sports, a specialist footwear/ sports division of Future Group, India's leading retailer. Winner Sports already runs the multi-brand sports speciality chain Planet Sports and is the exclusive India licensee cum distributor for retailing and marketing several international brands including Converse, Speedo, Wilson and Skechers.

“India is a top strategic market for us”, said Mr. Andrew Martland, Head of International Business Development, Clarks. “We have done a great deal of research on the complex Indian market and have invested substantially with an aim to develop it as a sourcing hub for our global business. Our association with Winner Sports is just the right step towards this direction. This is an ideal partnership as it combines Clarks brand and product development capability with Winner Sports & Future Group's retail expertise, infrastructure and knowledge of India. I'm sure this bond with Winner Sports will help serve the needs of both the Indian market and the brand's global requirements.”

On this occasion Mr. Rakesh Biyani, CEO – Retail, Future Group said, “Through this partnership with Clark's we plan to build a strong and respected leadership in the shoe retailing industry. We are focusing on research right now to evolve and suit changing Indian tastes. We are confident this collaboration will meet the growing needs of Indian customers as Clarks has years of experience in shoe manufacturing and retailing, while we have an in-depth understanding of Indian consumers,” Ravdeep Singh, CEO Winner Sports informs that the two companies are now developing a business plan to re-launch the brand from Spring 2011 and establish Clarks as a leading premium, international footwear brand in India for men, women and children. To achieve this, Clarks and Winner Sports both recognise the need to thoroughly understand the Indian consumer and to put significant investment and effort into developing the brand.

At present the focus is on putting in place a strong sourcing infrastructure in India to serve the needs of both India and Clarks global business. “We want to present the best of Clarks global range in India, but we also recognise the need for a much bigger collection of ladies sandals. There are some excellent manufacturers in India making this type of product and we are excited about working with them”, added Mr. Andrew Martland, Head of International Business Development, Clarks.

The two companies are also starting to recruit a management team for India capable of managing all aspects of the business.

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