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Pantaloon joint venture with Lee Cooper

Mumbai, June 13: The Kishore Biyani-promoted Pantaloon Industries Limited has joined hands with UK-based Lee Cooper to form a 50:50 joint venture. Pantaloon’s subsidiary Indus-League Clothing will be the joint venture partner.

The venture will set up retail stores for products ranging from footwear and apparel to accessories.

Last year, Biyani acquired a 68 per cent stake in Indus-League from ICICI Ventures for Rs 24 crore. Indus League owns lifestyle apparel brands ' Scullers and Indigo Nation. Lee Cooper operates about 450 stores in 70 countries across the world.

Lee Cooper has already terminated the licensing agreement with Indus Clothing for the domestic market.

The joint venture will distribute retail products under the Lee Cooper brand in the country after January 1, 2007. Ever since 51 per cent FDI was allowed in single-brand retailing, many international brands have shown interest in the Indian market.

Analysts feel more and more international brands will look at joint ventures to enter the domestic market.

Pantaloon has retail, real estate and insurance businesses.

Recently, the group announced its intention to enter the insurance sector through a joint venture with Italy’s Generali Group.

The joint venture will set up separate entities for life and general insurance businesses. Generali will have a 26 per cent stake in the joint venture and the balance will be held by Pantaloon and its associates.

Pantaloon’s retail sales for May was Rs 195.43 crore against Rs 125.14 crore during the same period last year, recording a year on year growth of 56.17 per cent.

Sales in value retailing stood at Rs 140.69 crore against Rs 82.02 crore during the same period last year, a growth of 71.53 per cent.

In the lifestyle segment, the company recorded sales of Rs 54.74 crore compared with Rs 43.12 crore during the same period last year, a growth of 26.95 per cent.

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