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Benetton rebuffs speculations about partnership with Trent

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Industry speculations that Italian fashion house Benetton might enter into a distribution partnership for its premium fashion brand, Sisley, with Tata Group company, Trent, have been decried as mere rumours by both parties.

Sanjeev Mohanty, managing director, Benetton India, told Indiaretailing, “These are mere speculations and we have no plans as such. Sisley is being retailed through the franchise network and it will continue to sell the same way.”

A similar rejoinder came from corporate communications of Westside. “We have no clue what the talk is about, and hence cannot comment. As of now, Trent is not in talks with any foreign brands for any kind of agreement,” said a senior communication official.

Industry speculation would have one believe that Benetton Group’s deputy chairman Alessandro Benetton is expected to ink the deal with Trent MD Noel Tata next month.

Benetton’s India arm had launched Sisley in the country last year and was conferred with the “Most Admired Brand Launch of the Year” award at Images Fashion Forum in January this year. Sisley, with over 850 outlets globally, is targeted at the premium end of the apparel market.

The aforesaid assumption likely has its origin in Tata’s expected foray into high-end fashion retailing through Trent. It has also been assumed in recent months that the group is in talks with international brands like Ralph Lauren. Established in 1998, Trent operates Westside, a lifestyle retail chain, which was followed up with Star India Bazaar in 2004.

– Ranjan Kaplish

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