ROCKFORD — Wolverine Worldwide (NYSE: WWW) on Monday 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.
“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,” said Blake W. Krueger, Wolverine Worldwide Chairman and CEO.
The formation of this joint venture is a direct result of Wolverine Worldwide’s International Group, which was formed in January 2011. Entering into a joint venture provides Wolverine Worldwide with a more meaningful ownership stake and near-term brand impact than its traditional licensee or distributor business model, and reflects the importance of this fast-growing market to the Company. Wolverine Worldwide and Tata International will each hold a 50 percent stake in this new joint venture.
Krueger said operating this new business model in India allows the Merrell and Caterpillar Footwear brands to get close to their target consumer, while providing deeper insights into brand development opportunities. It will also serve as a gateway and powerful brand platform for further growth of Wolverine’s broader portfolio of brands throughout the Asia-Pacific region.
“We look forward to a successful partnership with Wolverine in addressing the lifestyle footwear market in India, which offers a meaningful opportunity,” said N. N. Tata, managing director of Tata International.