The deal may not close until early next year, but Authentic Brands Group has signed a long-term licensing deal with Aditya Birla Fashion and Retail Ltd., or ABFRL, one of India’s leading fashion companies, to distribute and sell Reebok products through wholesale, e-commerce and Reebok branded retail stores in India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka.
The deal allows ABFRL to gain a foothold in India’s fast-growing sports and activewear market. Over the last few years, this segment has been growing rapidly as income levels rise and there is increased health consciousness and the adoption of active lifestyles by young Indians. In fact, the market is projected to increase 14 percent a year through fiscal 2024 to reach $13 billion.
Ashish Dikshit, managing director of ABFRL, said, “As Indians get more active, athletic and health focused, their consumption of apparel and accessories is expected to increasingly change in line with these trends, providing an opportunity to build iconic brands of global repute. Reebok is one of the leading brands in the sporting goods industry globally and has built a very strong presence in the Indian market over the last two decades. In partnership with ABG, we plan to accelerate Reebok’s business in India, combining its global appeal and salience amongst Indian youth. This transaction further strengthens the ABFRL portfolio and increases our ability to engage with consumers across various need spaces.”
ABFRL will partner with the Reebok Design Group, the newly established global brand hub based in Boston, on all product design, development, innovation and creative direction, according to ABG.
“ABFRL is a champion of the fashion industry in India with proven expertise in building and operating large-scale lifestyle brands across the region,” said Corey Salter, chief operating officer of ABG, which already works with the Indian company on Forever 21 and other brands within its portfolio. “We are confident that ABFRL will be successful in solidifying Reebok’s position with a growing audience of fans in India and Asia.”
The deal is a precursor to a transaction slated to close next year in which ABFRL will purchase certain assets of Reebok’s India business following ABG’s 2.1 billion euro purchase of the Reebok brand from Adidas at the end of February.
At the end of last month, ABG signed a long-term strategic partnership with SPARC Group to become the core licensee and operating partner for Reebok in the U.S. SPARC, a 50-50 joint venture between ABG and Simon Property Group, will oversee sourcing, manufacturing, branded retail stores, e-commerce operations and wholesale distribution for Reebok’s men’s, women’s and children’s footwear and lifestyle and active apparel.
ABFRL also markets brands including Ralph Lauren, Hackett, Van Heusen and Ted Baker, in the Indian region.