University of Oxford arm to expand merchandise range in India

The company, which runs Oxford Shops, is likely to add five new brand licence partners this year to sell University of Oxford branded products in India


Globally, Oxford brand is licenced for merchandising across 80 countries. The University of Oxford earns a royalty from its merchandise partners. Photo: Rob Matheson/ Corbis
Globally, Oxford brand is licenced for merchandising across 80 countries. The University of Oxford earns a royalty from its merchandise partners. Photo: Rob Matheson/ Corbis

New Delhi: Six years after the University of Oxford launched its merchandise in India, its global brand licencing arm Oxford Ltd is planning to expand the range.

The company, which runs Oxford Shops and manages the global brand licencing of the 800-year-old British University, is likely to add five new brand licence partners this year to sell University of Oxford branded products in India.

In India, Oxford’s brand licencing is managed by Bradford License India, a joint venture between US-based Bradford Licensing LLC and Franchise India Group. At present, brand Oxford is marketed in India by three companies.

“To date, brand Oxford was restricted to apparel, school stationery and school bags. We are now planning to get into home furnishing, textile, hard furniture and educational toys. Considering the rapid growth of retail in India, we are looking at two new brand licencees for educational products and stationery, and 3-4 for home furnishing,” said Chris Evans, managing director, Oxford Ltd. Based in Oxford, Evans was in India to meet potential partners seeking the brand merchandising licence.

Oxford also sells food and beverages products like tea, chocolates and cookies under the brand name. “These products are also sold in India. But the division is managed from UK directly,” said Evans.

Globally, Oxford brand is licenced for merchandising across 80 countries. The University of Oxford earns a royalty from its merchandise partners. “India is one of the key territories for brand Oxford. The opportunity is huge. At present, it is among the top six countries. There’s no reason why it should not be among the top two,” he said.

Evans said Oxford stands for education and imparting knowledge and the brand licencing entity would like to stick to categories nearly related to the same.“Everything that we do has relevance to the university,” he added.

Most of the products that are sold in India, under brand Oxford, are made in China. Evans said the company controls the quality and authenticity of products that are sold under the brand, but does not control sourcing.

Over 12-18 months, Evans said, the company will look at opening Oxford shops, or university brand stores in India. “We are working on opening a few dozens of Oxford stationery stores in China over the next few months. We’ll look at India later,” added Evans.

India’s retail market is projected to double $1.1-1.2 trillion from $630 billion in 2015, at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 12%, according to a joint report released by lobby group Ficci (Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry) and consultancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers.

The licenced merchandise market (including sports, media, cartoon and celebrities) in India was estimated at Rs4,500 crore in 2016, up from Rs3,000 crore in 2014, according to a study by retail consulting firm Technopak Advisors.

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