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Fast Retailing looks to India

India’s growing fashion market is attracting the attention of more and more global brands – among them Japanese company Fast Retailing.

The Uniqlo parent is said to be in talks for a potential partnership to open stores in India, with rumours Arvind Brands is the front runner however both sides declined to comment.

Euromonitor’s apparel analyst Ashma Kunde says India is a logical next step for Fast Retailing, given the country’s apparel market growth, which is predicted to average 5.9 per cent annually from 2011 to 2016.

Boston Consulting Group estimates apparel market in India will generate sales worth US$225 billion by 2020.

Uniqlo, the mainstay brand of Fast Retailing, currently operates more than 845 stores in Japan and more than 290 internationally.

Meanwhile, another Japanese company World Co is reportedly planning to take its brands including Couture Brooch, Hot Beat, Ozoc and Opaque to India by next year. The company’s senior adviser in India, Rajkumar Samdandam, said they have been test marketing the Indian market since February.

“We want to identify the right brand for the country,” said Samdandam.

World Co has a portfolio of more than 100 brands and operates 3000 stores in Japan and 200 in other Asian countries.

While India seems an attractive market to Japanese companies, Kunde cautions the Japanese subculture is not as popular as American or European styles.

“It remains to be seen whether it will have the same cachet as the Zara brand,” Kunde said.

GB

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