Wolverine Worldwide ventures in India with Tata

Monday, 23 April 2012

Michigan-based Wolverine Worldwide has announced the formation of a joint venture with Tata International to market footwear and apparel in India. The new joint venture will initially be responsible for the wholesale distribution of Wolverine Worldwide's Merrell and Caterpillar footwear brands. Wolverine Worldwide and Tata International will each hold a 50 percent stake in this new joint venture.

The formation of this joint venture is a direct result of the efforts of Wolverine Worldwide's International Group, which was formed in January 2011. This joint venture with Tata will serve as a gateway and powerful brand platform for further growth of Wolverine's broader portfolio of brands throughout the Asia-Pacific region. Commenting on the establishment, Blake W. Krueger, Wolverine Worldwide Chairman and CEO, stated, "This new partnership demonstrates the progress we are making towards our goal of expanding the global retail presence of our brands through stand-alone stores, shop-in-shops and selected wholesale distribution. This joint venture model follows the successful strategy of our owned operations in the United States, Canada and much of Europe. We believe that we have found, in Tata International, a truly remarkable partner who is equally dedicated to the success, growth and prosperity of our shared company, as well as the continued global expansion of Wolverine Worldwide's lifestyle brands."

The joint venture will have an agreement with Trent, another Tata Group company, which operates more than 50 department stores in India. This retail alliance will further aid the expansion of the Merrell and Caterpillar footwear brands in this important consumer market.

N. N. Tata, Managing Director, Tata International, said, "We look forward to a successful partnership with Wolverine in addressing the lifestyle footwear market in India, which offers a meaningful opportunity. This is consistent with Tata International's focus on growing its presence in footwear distribution and retail in the domestic and international markets."

Tata International Limited is the trading arm of the Tata Group based in India. Established in 1962, the company is India's leading manufacturer, exporter and supply chain integrator of leather and leather products working with the world's largest brands. It also retails footwear and leather articles in India under the brand Tashi. Wolverine World Wide, Inc. is a marketer of branded casual, active lifestyle, work, outdoor sport and uniform footwear and apparel. The company's portfolio of highly recognized brands includes Bates, Chaco, Cushe, Hush Puppies, HYTEST, Merrell, Sebago, Soft Style and Wolverine. The company also is the footwear licensee of popular brands including CAT, Harley-Davidson and Patagonia. The company's products are carried by leading retailers in the U.S. and globally in more than 190 countries and territories.