The Nine West Group, the US women's footwear and accessories, has been linked to a partnership deal with the Dubai based company Apparel to launch a joint venture into India.

According to a report in the Gulf News officials at Nine West and Apparel, license holders for Nine West in the Gulf, have been looking for a way into the Indian market where the Nine West brand is already well recognised.

However, the report also stated that the Nine West Group would not be considering setting up production in India. Producing in India may provide a way around the high customs duties but according to Nine West senior vice-president for International Sales Tom Gibb the company does not want to risk compromising its quality or brand image.

Apparel also took the opportunity to announce that it was planning to open a further 16 stores around the Gulf during 2001. Outlets are currently planned for Kuwait, Abu Dhabi, Al Ain and Bahrain.