“Ace Turtle is taking the licence for India for more than 10 years,” said one person familiar with the development. “Ace Turtle will have the rights to manufacture products for both Lee and Wrangler to sell them here.”
He added that Ace Turtle plans to have a special focus on omni-channel strategy for both the brands.
Bengaluru-based Ace Turtle that handles end-to-end e-commerce solutions to many brands including Lifestyle, Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin Klein, Michael Kors, Emporio Armani among other labels. But this is for the first time Ace Turtle itself is directly getting into retailing of any brand after taking over the India rights from Kontoor that, until now, sold both the brands through its wholly-owned India subsidiary.
Ace Turtle declined to comment. Kontoor said it is moving from a direct marketing and distribution to a long-term local licensee partner in the country. The US company said it believes a focus on omni-channel would offer exciting opportunities for the Lee and Wrangler brands to flourish in India.
“To adapt to a market that is increasingly online and, as part of a strategy to ensure maximum reach and access to customers across India, our much-loved brands, Lee and Wrangler, will be sold through a digitally connected network of online retailers and branded brick and mortar stores,” a Kontoor spokesperson said in an email response.
Lee and Wrangler started in India in a licencing deal with Ahmedabad-based Arvind Mills more than a decade ago and then converted the partnership into a joint venture with Arvind. Subsequently VF Corp, then owner of the denim brands, acquired the company from Arvind in the late 2000s.
Last year, VF spun off Lee, Wrangler and Rock & Republic labels and Kontoor became an independent and publicly traded company.
India’s overall denim-wear market was estimated to be Rs 29,203 crore in 2018 and the business is expected to swell more than 10% annually to touch around Rs 92,000 crore by 2028.
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