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Stuart Weitzman to Bow India Franchises

Stuart Weitzman is the latest U.S. footwear brand to step into the Indian market.

The label has teamed with Reliance Brands Ltd., a division of Mumbai-based Reliance Industries Group, to launch branded Stuart Weitzman retail stores in the country through a long-term franchising deal.

“India is a key strategic region of our world that has shown a strong demand for our products,” Weitzman said in a statement, “and we see this as one of the most important long-term markets in the world.” The first franchises are slated to bow for spring ’13 in Delhi and Mumbai.

Reliance Brands President and CEO Darshan Mehta was bullish about the partnership. “Having the ability to leverage the global strength of the Stuart Weitzman brand and building a larger presence for [it] here in India is a great opportunity,” he said in a statement. “We are very excited about the association, which promises to pioneer a global trend across the region.”

The announcement comes on the heels of several other major brands entering India via franchising agreements with Reliance Brands. Brooks Brothers inked a deal over the summer to open mono-branded stores, with a plan to roll out the first three locations this fall. Iconix Brand Group Inc. and Steve Madden Ltd. also have formed India-focused licensing and retail partnerships with the company.

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