Oxford University in talks with Madura Garments for a brand franchising deal for apparels

The University of Oxford may not have made up its mind to set up a campus in India, but it may soon be selling fashion clothing in the country in a tie-up with Aditya Birla Group company Madura Garments. Oxford Ltd, a wholly owned arm of the British university that runs a 50 million-plus retail sales branded merchandise business across the world, is in advanced talks with Madura Garments for a brand franchising deal for apparel.

"On behalf of Oxford, we are in advance discussions stage with Madura Garments," said Gaurav Marya, chairman at licensing firm Bradford License India, which is helping Oxford to forge brand licensing deals with various firms in the country.

Chris Evan, MD at Oxford Ltd, said it plans to sell fashion apparel, accessories, education-related products including school bags and stationery, home interior and lifestyle products, luggage and even furniture in India by spring of 2015.

"We have already signed a very important deal with an apparel and accessories partner," he told ET. Oxford has already appointed Vadoda ra-based Swadesh Essfil as educational toys licensee and , Evan said. In response to an email query by ET a spokesperson for Aditya Birla Group said, "We do not comment on market speculation."

Oxford-University-in-talks-with-Madura-Garments-for-a-brand-franchising- deal-for-apparels

Evan said Oxford plans to occupy a premium to mid-tier pricing structure in the country and its products will be available in both offline and online platforms. "We will be developing various categories further with our licensees to create a decent retail visibility in India, and will also be seeking to develop the home, interior and lifestyle category with the right partnerships," he said.

"We are looking for different franchisee partners for individual categories." Other categories Oxford will potentially explore in the country for brand licences include luxury ceramics, kitchen-ware and home decor, luggage and vintage furniture, Evan said.

The brand licensing market in India is still small, estimated at just $1 billion, less than 1% of the $200-billion global market. Marya of Bradford License said educational institutions extending their business to brand licensing was a new trend in India, though globally both Oxford and Cambridge University have flourishing licensing businesses. According to University of Cambridge's website, some of its global brand licensing partners include Guangzhou ZhouXun Leatherware and Pepe Jeans Europe

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