Cherokee Inc. has signed a licensing agreement granting Max, the value-based fashion chain based in the United Arab Emirates, exclusive rights to the Cherokee brand for a series of markets in the Middle East and northern Africa.

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The company, based in Sherman Oaks, Calif., also clarified the status of the Cherokee license in Canada, where Target Corp. is assuming leases previously held by Zellers.

With the addition of Max, Cherokee now has direct-to-retail licenses with stores spanning more than 40 countries. The largest of the retailers include Target in the U.S.; Tesco in the U.K., Ireland and several central European markets, and Arvind Mills in India. The Max arrangement will include men’s, women’s and children’s merchandise.

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Founded in 2004, Max has 200 stores in nations including the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman, Turkey, Egypt, Libya, Qatar, Nigeria, Lebanon, Sudan, Yemen and India. The license doesn’t apply to markets already covered by Cherokee licenses, such as India. Shufersal holds the rights to the brand in Israel.

“The exclusive partnership with Max is a testament to our continued progress in improving our brand penetration and strengthening our global brand footprint,” said Henry Stupp, chief executive officer of Cherokee. “We are confident that our family-focused lifestyle brand will resonate well with Max’s fashion-forward, value-oriented patrons, and we look forward to working with Max to develop and expand our consumer base throughout the Middle East and Africa.”

The search for a Middle Eastern retail partner was overseen by Mark Nawrocki, senior vice president of Cherokee. Pick ’n Pay has rights for Cherokee in South Africa and several adjacent countries.

Separately, Cherokee said Target’s right to the Cherokee name will be extended to include Canada as of Feb. 1 and Target will hold the rights to Canada exclusively by Jan. 31, 2014. The granting of exclusivity would be prior to that date if the current arrangement with Zellers for Canada is terminated.

Target last year agreed to purchase the leasehold interests to up to 220 Zellers sites in Canada. Between 125 and 135 stores will be converted by March.

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