By  on March 14, 2012

NEW DELHI — Thomas Pink Ltd. has signed an exclusive franchise agreement with Reliance Brands Ltd. to open monobrand stores in India.

“Planting the Pink flag in India and bringing our unique tradition of fine shirt crafting and tailoring to the increasingly cosmopolitan Indian consumer has been a long-standing personal dream,” said Jonathan Heilbron, president and chief executive officer of Thomas Pink.

“Thomas Pink is a brand with very high recall and will sit in Indian wardrobes easily and naturally,” said Darshan Mehta, president and ceo of Reliance Brands. “Given the increasingly well-traveled and aspirational Indian consumer, their connection with international fashion brands and the gap in laddering them to luxury, the choice to partner with and launch Thomas Pink in India was obvious.

“In terms of the first store, it could be either Bombay or Delhi or both,” he added. “These are ripe and ready markets in terms of the Pink consumer, but getting the right location is a substantial challenge. After these, Chennai, Bangalore and Chandigarh would be the obvious first clutch of cities that we would look at.”

The shirts will be priced between 6,000 and 7,000 rupees, or $120 to $140 at current exchange, and Mehta believes the Indian consumer will embrace the brand. “In terms of creating more awareness for the Pink brand among Indian consumers, well-located, beautiful and contemporary stores and a very rich shopping experience are the most powerful tools to create awareness,” he said.

According to a study by McKinsey, apparel sales in India were estimated to be about $25 billion in 2010 and are the second-largest retail category in the country, representing about 10 percent of the total market.

Reliance Brands is a part of the Reliance Industries Group, which has been growing rapidly in the premium to luxury segment. The company recently signed a joint venture agreement with Iconix Brand Group Inc. to distribute that company’s brands in India. It already has agreements with Ermenegildo Zegna, Diesel, Paul & Shark, Steve Madden and others.

Thomas Pink will add another strong player in the high-end men’s wear market in India. U.K. retailer Savile Row relaunched its brand here last year through a partnership with Indian retailer Alok H&A and also set up an alliance for its luxury arm, 40 Savile Row, with Study by Janak, a luxury retailer in New Delhi.

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