After generating much hype and curiosity, leading US fashion brand GAP has finally arrived in India through an alliance with Arvind Lifestyle Brands Ltd; the iconic brand will be opening its first Indian store on May 30th, at, predictably, Select CITYEWALK mall, New Delhi.
The first Gap store will offer a wide range of clothing and accessories from the GAP, GapKids and babyGap Summer 2015 collections. This will be the first of several stores to open within the first year. The maiden store sprawls over an area of 11,000 sq.ft.
GAPplans to open 40 stores in the course of first five years and will aim at opening at least 10 stores by the end of 2016.The brand will first target the metros and tier I cities and the initial roll out of first 40 stores will be in key Indian cities; in its initial phase the brand will only concentrate on opening outlets in leading malls in the country. The average store size will be around 8,000-10,000 sq.ft.
Speaking on the Arvind and GAP partnership, J Suresh, MD and CEO of Arvind Lifestyle Brands, said,“We are excited that Gap, one of the world’s most iconic brands, is now available to our Indian customers through the terrific partnership between GAP and Arvind. Through this partnership, we plan open up to 40 stores across the country.”“We are pleased to bring GAP’s casual American style to customers in India and we have been encouraged by the positive response from our launch efforts thus far. Our brand awareness is very high and it‘s apparent there is a deep affinity for GAP in India. We are looking forward to providing a unique branded shopping experience across India,” said Ismail Seyis, Vice President of Gap Franchise.Kulin Lalbhai, Executive Director, Arvind Limited added, “GAP is a big opportunity for us. A brand like GAP can change the landscape of retail in India; the VM, facade, store design, merchandise mix & assortment, marketing and promotions that GAP does is a new-to-market thing for the Indian retail industry.”
“We are pleased to bring GAP’s casual American style to customers in India and we have been encouraged by the positive response from our launch efforts thus far. Our brand awareness is very high and it‘s apparent there is a deep affinity for GAP in India. We are looking forward to providing a unique branded shopping experience across India,” said Ismail Seyis, Vice President of Gap Franchise.
Kulin Lalbhai, Executive Director, Arvind Limited added, “GAP is a big opportunity for us. A brand like GAP can change the landscape of retail in India; the VM, facade, store design, merchandise mix & assortment, marketing and promotions that GAP does is a new-to-market thing for the Indian retail industry.”
“We are expecting great queues outside the store on its opening day on May 30th; the buzz we have created for GAP is really strong and consumer sentiments toward it is extremely positive,” he noted.
Referring to prospects and expectations from the Indian market, Stefan Laban, SVP, GAP Speciality International, said, “We are resetting the North America market for the brand, and we are extremely bullish on emerging markets such as China, Latin America and for us this year, India is our biggest launch. We are channelising all our energies to make GAP a hit here.”
Elaborating on possible competition in Indian market, Laban added, “We are really happy that brands such as H&M are also entering India; this will make the competition more healthy and it is great that Zara, GAP and H&M stores will be under one roof (Select CITYWALK); this will give more options to customers to choose from and is also good for the brands. With the competition for fashion retailing intensifying in India, global retailers will have more reasons to cheer as this will create a holistic retailing atmosphere in India. It’s a win-win situation for customers, retailers and the retail real estate guys.”
Referring to the choice of location as the gateway to India, Laban noted, “Select CITYWALK is a great mall. I have been coming to India for the past five years and I have seen lot of good malls here, but Select CITYWALK is the best among the rest. In fact, it is a very good mall from the global perspective also. I would go as far as to say that it’s a world class mall!”
Elaborating on the collections, especially on whether GAP had customised ranges for Indian design sensibilities, David Hayer, MD, GIS (India), VP, Global Sourcing, said, “Design, quality, sourcing is all the same; we will bring American style in a new and authentic way to India and India will love it. We will just be taking Arvind Group’s help in terms of SKUs.”
Emphasising on the brand’s positioning Suresh said, “GAP will be an aspirational brand for many Indian customers; its pricing is one of its core strengths. The menswear t-shirts will start from Rs 999 and jeans will start from Rs 2,999. For women, the tops will start from Rs 799 and jeans from Rs 1,999. We are also banking big time on the kidswear range; we are expecting it to be a show stealer.”
The first ten stores of GAP India will be opened on an investment of Rs 100 crore. Arvind is projecting a turnover of Rs 1,000 crore in six years’ time from the brand.
Since opening its doors in 1969, GAP has been known for offering consumers cool, modern American designs fit for every occasion. Customers worldwide have looked to the iconic international brand for on-trend, casual clothing and accessories that help them express their personal sense of style. The collections are a modern interpretation of Gap’s denim roots and signature pieces that are a staple for every wardrobe.
Arvind Lifestyle Brands Limited is a subsidiary of Arvind Ltd, India’s largest integrated textile company. Arvind has licensing relationships with several international brands, including Gant, Nautica, Arrow, Izod, US Polo Association, Elle, Ed Hardy, Hanes, Cherokee, and Geoffrey Beene. It also has a portfolio of 12 of its own brands. Arvind is launching stores of marquee retailers Gap and The Children’s Place. Arvind has a JV with PVH Corp. for the Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin Klein businesses in India, and also runs the value retail chain, Megamart.