This winter, if you buy a Pringle of Scotland pullover in India, chances are that it was made in China.
The top-of-the-line woolen knitwear brand, favoured by celebrities such as Madonna, David Beckham and Nicole Kidman, has ended its association with India's sole licensee, Oswal Knit.
The agreement, in effect since 1995, was terminated after the Ludhiana-based Oswal developed "differences of opinion" with the brand-owners. Evidently, the latter wanted to diversify into the shirt and T-shirt market, which Oswal was not keen on.
"They wanted us to introduce the luxury shirts and T-shirts priced as high as Rs 26,000," said the spokesman of Oswal Knit India. "We refused the deal as market surveys conducted by us indicated that in the Indian market, even in metros like Delhi and Bombay, consumers would not buy simple shirts at such exorbitant rates."
The spokesperson said that the two sides amicably decided to part ways and settled for termination of the license agreement.
Sources who did not wish to be identified claimed that there was more to the break-up. The Scottish brand had been bought by a Hong Kong-based business family, which was seeking an "unreasonable" hike in the licensing fee, which Oswal Knit had refused.
Pringle has not awarded a new license in India, so the brand owner would have to import products from the nearest manufacturing facility (China), said industry sources. A new licence is likely to be formalised by the next season.
Oswal Knit has meanwhile tied up an agreement with Gadoni of Italy, and has replaced its exclusive Pringle stores with Gadoni's winter-wear for both men and women.