The 15 year licensing agreement between fashion retailer the Benetton Group and Syria's Samha Group has come to an end and will not be renewed.

Benetton says it manufacturing hubs are now consolidated in well-defined geographical areas which, due to logistical requirements, are centred on direct production and do not include the Middle East.

It will, however, continue to invest in Syria and distribute its apparel products through United Colors of Benetton stores.

Luciano Benetton, chairman of the Benetton Group, said he did not rule out the possibility of the two firms working together in the future.