By  on May 31, 2007

Diesel has set its sights on India.

The Italian premium lifestyle brand has reached an agreement for a joint venture with India's Arvind Mills Ltd. under which the companies will form Diesel India Fashion Arvind Pvt Ltd. and will open flagships in New Delhi and Mumbai by year's end. Over the next three years, the company plans to open 15 stores.

"I am very happy about this new addition to the Diesel Planet," Renzo Rosso, president and founder of Diesel, said in a statement. "India is a most incredible country in terms of economic growth and for the very fast development of its fashion market."

Sanjay Lalbhai, managing director of Arvind Mills, said the Diesel brand was well known in India because several Bollywood stars wear the label.

Some of the world's biggest brands have partnered with Arvind to make their initial push into the vast Indian market.

In September 2006, VF Corp. began a joint venture with Arvind to launch its portfolio of lifestyle brands. VF was reported to have paid $33 million for a 60 percent ownership in the new venture, VF Arvind Brands Private Ltd., which handles design, marketing and distribution responsibilities for the Lee, Wrangler, Nautica, JanSport and Kipling brands. Those labels were previously handled through a licensing and distribution agreement with Arvind subsidiary Arvind Fashions.

Arvind launched Tommy Hilfiger in India through its nine freestanding stores in Delhi, Bangalore, Mumbai, Kolkota, Hyderabad and Chennai. Last year, the company introduced the Gant brand in India. In addition, the firm has homegrown brands Excalibur, Flying Machine, Ruggers, Bay Island and Newport.

Diesel also announced on Wednesday that it would open its first store in Atlanta in September. The 3,400-square-foot unit will be located at the Lenox Square mall in Atlanta's Buckhead district and will carry Burberry, Cartier, Ralph Lauren and Adidas. Diesel has 35 U.S. stores and plans to open four more by the end of the year.

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