– MARKS AND SPENCER EXPANDS IN INDIA: Marks and Spencer Group plc said it plans to launch 50 stores in India over the next five years with Reliance Industries. Together, the two companies have invested 29 million pounds, or $57 million at current exchange, in the business. M&S said it will take a 51 percent interest in the new company, called Marks and Spencer Reliance India Pvt Ltd., while Reliance Retail will control the remaining 49 percent. M&S has 14 franchise stores in India run by Planet Retail, and the company said it expected to continue to run those stores. The new deal is part of M&S’ strategy to grow its international business to make up between 15 and 20 percent of the group’s revenues within the next five years. Last month, the company signed a joint venture with its Eastern European franchise partner, COMS, to open 30 stores in Central and Eastern Europe over the next few years.
This story first appeared in the April 23, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
– LOEHMANN’S PICKS POLITZER: Loehmann’s named Jerry Politzer chief executive officer Tuesday, confirming an April 16 report in WWD. He succeeds Robert Friedman, who is retiring, but will serve as vice chairman of Loehmann’s board and a consultant to parent company Istithmar World Capital. Politzer was most recently president of Value City Department Stores. Loehmann’s has “exceptional growth potential,” Politzer said. The off-pricer has more than 60 stores in 17 states.
– HARTMARX DEAL: Hartmarx Corp. has signed a deal with Airwair International Ltd. and R Griggs Group Ltd., the holders of the worldwide license for Dr. Martens, to manufacture and market women’s and men’s casual apparel under the Dr. Martens name. The sportswear will be made, marketed and sold by HMX Sportswear Inc., a New York-based subsidiary of Chicago-based Hartmarx. The launch collection will feature men’s wear for fall 2009, followed by women’s apparel in 2010. The lines will include denim jeans, cotton shirts, sweatshirts and outerwear.