Valentino to open first monobrand stores in India after Reliance deal

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FILE PHOTO: Valentino Haute Couture show "The Beginning" Fall-Winter 2022/2023 in Rome

MILAN (Reuters) - Italian fashion house Valentino will open its first mono-brand stores in India after signing a distribution agreement with the country's biggest retailer Reliance, the companies said in a joint statement on Thursday.

Though small for a country of its size, India's luxury market is set to be one of the fastest growing in the industry. It will nearly double in size to almost $5 billion within five years, Euromonitor estimates.

"The first store is due to open in 2022 by the end of the summer, with the flagship store in Mumbai to follow in the coming months," the statement said.

The group - founded in Rome in 1960 and now controlled by Qatari investment vehicle Mayhoola - already sold its high-end products in India, but only through multi-brand stores. New stores will sell womenswear, menswear and accessories, the statement added.

Valentino Chief Executive Jacopo Venturini said the upcoming store openings were a "significant step" in the luxury group's strategy.

"This partnership will help make the brand more accessible to its Indian customers," Darshan Mehta, managing director of Reliance Brands Limited, said.

Earlier this month, Reliance partnered with U.S. clothing brand Gap. It already has partnerships with several luxury brands including Burberry.

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

(Reporting by Elvira Pollina; editing by Giulia Segreti and Barbara Lewis)

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