Gitanjali Group inks pact with Mariella Burani

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After Reliance Brands’ alliance with Italy’s Sixty Group, Gitanjali Group, which is fast moving towards its goal of becoming a leading player in the luxury retail business, has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Italy’s Mariella Burani Fashion Group (MBFG) to significantly drive the growth of the latter’s fashion and luxury brands in Indian and North American markets.

When contacted, a spokesperson at Gitanjali Group told Indiaretailing: “We have signed a memorandum of understanding with MBFG to market its high-end brands in the country. The company will launch a host of fashion brands from MBFG’s portfolio, including Mariella Burani, Baldinini, Rosato, Calgaro and Facco. Gitanjali will provide production, marketing, logistics and distribution expertise to these brands in the Indian and North American markets.”

Mariella Burani is a designer apparel line positioned in the high end of the market, while Baldinini is a luxury leather accessories and footwear brand. Rosato, Calgaro and Facco are high-end Italian jewellery brands, which MBFG has acquired in the recent past. The company acquired Rosato in September 2006, Calgaro in December 2006, and Facco in March 2007.

Speaking on Gitanjali Group’s association with MBFG, Mehul Choksi, chairman, Gitanjali Group, said, “We are very proud to be associated with MBFG. The MOU will be a step towards Gitanjali Group’s endeavour to expand their retail footprint and market share. We hope this association with MBFG is mutually profitable, and strengthens Gitanjali Group’s international foray.” In November 2007, Geetanjali acquired the US-based Roggers Jewellery.

The country’s largest integrated diamond and jewellery manufacturer and retailer, Gitanjali Group will use its extensive distribution network, which includes 32 boutiques and 132 shop-in-shops in exclusive multi-brand retailers across 25 cities across the country, while MBFG will contribute its consolidated experience in the design, development and international distribution of Italian lifestyle apparel, leather goods and jewellery collections.

Giovanni Burani, CEO, MBFG, noted: “The partnership is consistent with our strategy to expand internationally with top-quality international partners, and we are proud to have entered into partnership with Gitanjali Group. We are convinced that the venture will represent an important growth driver in India and North America, and generate important visibility in emerging markets.”

Headquartered in Cavriago, Italy, MFBG designs, manufactures and distributes a range of luxury apparel, knitwear, leather accessories and footwear collections. Apparel is the company’s core business and combines knitwear, textile and retail operations. Its principal brands are Mariella Burani, Rene Lezard, Mila Schon and Stephen Fairchild.

The company also produces leather apparel, accessories and footwear under brand names Braccialini and Baldinini. In addition, the digital fashion division provides information systems and Internet support services to companies operating in the luxury goods and fashion sectors.

MBFG, in June 2007, had signed a strategic JV with Damas to develop both groups’ presence in the fashion jewellery market worldwide. Damas, the Dubai-based international jewellers, ventured into the Indian market in 2003 when it formed a 50-50 joint venture, D’Damas, with Gitanjali Gems Limited to manufacture and market a range of jewellery in India and abroad. In any case, it is learnt that the current strategic tie-up between MBFG and Geetanjali is routed through Geetanjali’s earlier tie-up with Damas.

With more tie-ups and JVs on anvil, the luxury brands are geared up for a bullfight in the affluent Indian retail space, it seems.

– Vishnu Rageev R, Bengaluru Bureau

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