GAP’s Banana Republic to Make India Entry
American fashion brand to partner with Arvind Retail, aims for debut by February next year
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.