Reliance adds British denim brand Lee Cooper to its burgeoning portfolio

Forum Gandhi Mumbai | Updated on October 28, 2021

Plans to distribute iconic brand across retail channels

Reliance Brands Ltd, through its joint venture (JV) company Iconix Lifestyle India Pvt Ltd, has acquired all the brand rights to British denim brand Lee Cooper in India, including IP rights.

Darshan Mehta, President and Chief Executive of Reliance Brands Ltd (RBL), declined to disclose the value of the deal. However, the company said through the acquisition, Iconix Lifestyle India plans to expand Lee Cooper’s presence in the country by enabling the brand’s distribution across all retail channels.

Speaking on the rationale behind acquiring Lee Cooper, Mehta told BusinessLine, the brand – founded in London’s East End in 1908 – is a massive slice of history. “I think Lee Cooper is one of the original, authentic workwear-inspired denim brands. It is more than 100 years’ old and comes with a rich history of going all the way back to Beatles,” he said.

“A brand needs to be relevant in contemporary times while keeping a touch of history. So, the challenge and strength are the same. We plan to find a fine blend between the company’s heritage and keep the brand relevant,” he added.

What’s on the cards

On immediate plans, Mehta said: “The Iconix Lifestyle JV in India has 24 brands, including Lee Cooper, and each of these brands is licensed out. The company does not operate brands, it does not open stores or buy or sell inventory. It gives out the brand under a direct to retail (DTR) licence. Our immediate approach for this brand would be to find a licensee,” he said.

When asked if the company would have an omnichannel approach, he said: “No brand can be online or offline only; the approach of each brand is to ‘play to win.’ We believe our licensee would have a similar approach.”

Published on October 27, 2021

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