India's Reliance signs franchise deal with fashion house Balenciaga

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FILE PHOTO: People wearing face masks following the COVID-19 outbreak are seen at a store of French luxury brand Balenciaga inside a shopping mall in Beijing
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MUMBAI (Reuters) - India's bigger retailer Reliance said on Thursday that had signed a long-term franchise deal with French fashion house Balenciaga, the latest in a flurry of deals the conglomerate has signed with high-end brands.

Reliance Brands Ltd (RBL), a unit of the conglomerate that also runs India's biggest retail chain, said in a statement it would be Balenciaga's sole partner in India.

"It’s the most opportune time to introduce the brand to the country as the Indian luxury customer has matured and using fashion as a form of creative expression of their individuality" Darshan Mehta, managing director of RBL, said in the statement.

Reliance, run by one of India's richest men, Mukesh Ambani, has been on a dealmaking spree, signing franchise agreements with brands like Valentino, Gap and British coffee and sandwich chain Pret A Manager.

Targeting growth in luxury, Reliance is building a mall with dozens of outlets for powerhouse brands from Louis Vuitton to Guci, documents reviewed by Reuters showed in April.

(Reporting by Shilpa Jamkhandikar in Mumbai; Editing by Bernadette Baum)

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