GAP’s Ba­nana Re­pub­lic to Make In­dia En­try

Amer­i­can fash­ion brand to part­ner with Arvind Re­tail, aims for de­but by Fe­bru­ary next year

The Economic Times - - Business Of Brands -

Richa Ma­hesh­wari & Sa­gar Malviya

Ben­galuru | New Delhi: Amer­i­can fash­ion la­bel Ba­nana Re­pub­lic will open its first store in In­dia by early next year to catch up with the lat­est wave of ex­pan­sion by global re­tail­ers in the one of the world's fastest grow­ing mar­ket. The brand, owned by GAP, will part­ner with Arvind Re­tail for its In­dia en­try and is al­ready scout­ing for lo­ca­tions to open doors by Fe­bru­ary next year, said two of­fi­cials aware of the devel­op­ment.

Arvind Re­tail manag­ing di­rec­tor J Suresh said, “We al­ready have a strong partnership with GAP and now we are ex­plor­ing other brands from its port­fo­lio.” GAP Inc has six brands such as GAP, Ba­nana Re­pub­lic, Old Navy and more un­der its wing.

Ex­perts have said that Ba­nana Re­pub­lic will have a wide ap­peal since there is a dearth of ‘bridge-to-lux­ury’ brands in the coun­try. More­over, the ris­ing pop­u­la­tion of fash­ion-for­ward In­dian youth with high spend­ing power will cre­ate a lu­cra­tive mar­ket for this la­bel. “Af­ford­able lux­ury brands which are within the range of .₹ 4,000 to .₹ 12,000 is an at­trac­tion among young­sters and lux­ury brand as­pi­rants. Ba­nana Re­pub­lic will be com­pet­ing with brands such as Tommy Hil­figer, Calvin Klein in terms of price points, but since there are not many in­ter­na­tional play­ers in this seg­ment, the mar­ket po­ten­tial is high,” said Bi­jou Kurien, a re­tail sec­tor veteran. Arvind Re­tail runs more than 800 stores in In­dia across a port­fo­lio of more than 30 brands in­clud­ing US Po- lo and Ar­row. The Ahmed­abad-based com­pany has opened nearly eight GAP stores in less than a year of its partnership with the world's third largest ap­parel brand.

GAP sold ap­parel and ac­ces­sories worth .₹ 80 per square foot daily on an av­er­age sur­pass­ing ev­ery other re­tailer in the coun­try in terms of sales per square foot, said in­dus­try sources.

As young­sters are em­brac­ing west­ern­style cloth­ing, In­dia has also be­come an at­trac­tive mar­ket for other top in­ter­na­tional brands such as Zara and H&M. Span­ish fash­ion brand, Zara, be­came the first ap­parel brand in the coun­try to have clocked in $100 mil­lion mark in the first five years. H&M, on the other hand, clocked over .₹ 1.75 crore sales in the first day of its launch.

In In­dia, fast fash­ion brands in­clud­ing Zara, Mango and Vero Moda have a more up­scale im­age than their home mar­kets. How­ever, Ba­nana Re­pub­lic will not com­pete with Zara or H&M but will in­stead clash with In­di­tex Group’s Mas­simo Dutti that plans to en­ter the mar­ket soon. In­dia of­fers an im­por­tant plat­form to bring Amer­i­can ca­sual style to con­sumers around the world, at a time when In­di­ans are in­creas­ingly em­brac­ing west­ern-style cloth­ing.

The In­dian ap­parel mar­ket is ex­pected to be worth $60 bil­lion by 2020.

FILE PHOTO

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