Topshop may enter India with Tata Group

MUMBAI Mon Jun 30, 2008 7:55am BST

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MUMBAI (Reuters) - Billionaire retailer Philip Green, owner of the Arcadia group, has finalised Tata Group as a franchise partner for its Topshop and Topman retail chains' foray into India, the Economic Times said on Monday.

Arcadia had been in talks with Indian real estate firm DLF (DLF.BO), but "finally decided in favour of a franchise agreement with Tata Group's retail chain Trent (TREN.BO)", the newspaper said, citing a person close to the development.

A spokeswoman for Trent declined comment.

Green had said in April he was pushing ahead with Topshop's international expansion, including the first store in the United States slated to open in October. He said at the time he was nearly set with plans to enter China and Hong Kong, too.

Foreign retailers are showing keen interest in India's fast-growing retail industry amid stagnating growth at home.

Single-brand foreign retailers in India are allowed to take up to 51 percent in a venture with a local retailer; multi-brand retailers are limited to franchise or licence operations.

Marks & Spencer (MKS.L) in April signed a joint venture agreement with Reliance Retail, a unit of India's Reliance Industries (RELI.BO), for stores to sell apparel and homeware.

Trent, which operates department store chain Westside, hypermarkets and bookstore chain Landmark, last year said it would manage Benetton Group's BNG.MI Sisley stores in India.

Infiniti Retail, a unit of Tata Sons, runs Croma, a chain of consumer electronics and durables, in partnership with Australia's Woolworths (WOW.AX).

(Reporting by Rina Chandran; Editing by Ranjit Gangadharan)

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