Foreign Brands Sailing in Indian Waters
With its huge catchment and consumption positive demographics the attractiveness of India as a destination market was never in doubt but the pre-game rules threw questions. “Are Indian manufacturers equipped to produce the high-end quality products to the likes of Armani?”… counter asked the International giants for long. The embargo on 30 per cent local sourcing and restricted entry channels for single brand retail companies, dipped Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in retail year-on-year post 2011. As of November 2015, the FIPB could approve proposals worth Rs 870 million only, compared to proposals worth Rs 2.84 billion in 2014 for single brand retail.
The FDI policies were viewed as stumbling blocks for many luxury players as they were unsure about the manufacturing capabilities of Indian companies. However, The Government did tweak the 30 per cent mandatory sourcing norm for FDI in single-brand retail to accommodate Swedish furniture maker IKEA after it made its application to invest Euro 1.5 billion in India. Post the relaxation in FDI norms, single brand retailers can now enter India without the 30 per cent local sourcing clause, operate in India via both wholesale and single brand retail activities and set up their own e-commerce operations etc.
What has not changed is that brands still require Government approval for FDI beyond 49 per cent. Up to 49 per cent is allowed under the automatic route subject to certain filings with the Reserve Bank of India. Additionally, mandatory local sourcing still applies to FDI beyond 51 per cent requiring that at least 30 per cent of the value of the goods sold be sourced from India.
For many foreign retailers, this requirement presents an obstacle to entering the Indian market due to myriad challenges in India’s supply chain; however, there are many who insisted on sailing in Indian waters. Here is a brief look on those who commenced operations from the beginning of 2015 till date.
Topshop and Topman
With a humble beginning in the basement of a department store in 1964, this British multinational fashion retailer of clothing, footwear, make-up and fashion accessories has grown up with over 300 stores in the UK alone. It has around 500 stores worldwide along with a strong online presence and shipping to more than 100 countries. What sets them apart is the built on being design-led and first-to-market attributes.
Both as a trendsetter and pioneer, their collection for both men and women encapsulates a bohemian, 70s-inspired mood with laid-back pieces, some are influenced by the 90s travel and military trends etc.
UK’s Topshop, which came close to partnering the Tatas five years ago, after reviving India plans, partnered with Jabong and launched with them. Upbeat about Indian market, their Global Design Director, Jacqui Markham, believes that Indian shoppers are incredibly receptive to trends and take inspiration from international influencers. They have no immediate plans for a brick-and-mortar store in India as of now. They are yet to approach the Indian Government for ‘single-brand license’.
Hennes & Mauritz (H&M)
H&M run by a Swedish billionaire Karl Johan Persson, is a retail clothing company operating over 3,700 stores in 61 markets globally. The chain was started by Persson’s grandfather, Erling Persson, in 1947. H&M, which became a household name in Europe with its affordable apparel, entered India through single-brand retail route.
Known for its fast-fashion clothing for men, women, teenagers and children, H&M, is one of the largest foreign investors in single-brand retail. In their quest to enter Indian wardrobes, H&M intends to open 50 stores and will be investing 100 million (approximately Rs 730 crore) over the next five years. With its first flagship store opened in Delhi followed by the second one also in South Delhi followed by Bengaluru.
The group will increase sourcing from India to 30 per cent in five years. Most of the clothes at H&M’s Delhi store are made in Bangladesh and China, among other countries and are sold at competitive prices to cater to the price sensitive Indian consumer.
When Don Fisher could not find a perfect fit of jeans for himself, he decided to set up a store himself in 1969 to make it easier to find the right fit. The company has 3,700 stores worldwide and operates through five primary divisions: The Namesake Banner, Banana Republic, Old Navy, Intermix and Athleta.
Gap launched its first store in the capital with its Indian franchisee Arvind Lifestyle Brands. The launch was unique as the retailer had distributed tokens to shoppers to enter it in a queue like system. Best known for its khaki pants and arsenal of denim jeans, the American retailer is playing up its colored pieces and bling for the Indian market. The franchisee is hopeful and is targeting Rs 1,000 crore revenue from the 40 stores in the coming 5-6 years in top 15 cities of the country.
New York headquatered, American casual fashion retailer Aéropostale, Inc. is a mall-based, specialty retailer of casual apparel and accessories, principally targeting young women, men and teens. The iconic high street label is known for its jeans, hoodies and t-shirts.
The company has inked a licensing agreement with Arvind Lifestyle Brands Ltd. to open approximately 30 standalone stores and 25 shop in shops locations in the next three years in India. It also has plans to open an e-commerce portal. The company has used flash mobs for its India entry in November 2015 reflecting a trend that their India debut is not just opening a store, but a detailed activation program taking shape much before the launch.
BCBG Max Azria
The Tunisia-born French designer Max Azria, founded the group 25 years ago in Los Angeles. The label used to offer fashion at affordable prices embodying a true combination of European sophistication and American spirit. BCBG in BCBG Max Azria denotes the French phrase, “bon chic, bon genre”, which means good style, good attitude.
The brand includes evening dresses, denim, outerwear, footwear, swimwear, handbags and small leather goods etc. The label is known for dressing up scores of Hollywood A-listers like Angelina Jolie and Halle Berry. The group has entered India through a long-term licence agreement with Reliance Brands Ltd., a part of the Reliance Industries Group. BCBG, the first women’s only apparel brand in Reliance’s portfolio, includes Kenneth Cole, Diesel, Brooks Brothers besides several others. The BCBG Max Azria merchandise would be priced from Rs 6,000 to Rs 20,000 while the Generation collection will be available between Rs 4,000 – Rs 12,000.
Juicy Couture was founded by Pamela Skaist-Levy and Gela Nash-Taylor in 1997 and was purchased by the Liz Claiborne fashion company. In 2013, the company again changed hands and was sold to Authentic Brands Group LLC. (ABG), a leading global brand development and licensing company. The brand is known for its casual apparel luxury collection in the categories of women, girls and baby, handbags, shoes, intimates, swimwear, fragrance, accessories and jewelry. However, their signature wear tracksuits and hoodies (hooded shirts) were the hottest selling items. Much of the brand’s success was founded on celebrity relationships.
The brand has entered India in 2015 through an exclusive agreement with Reliance Brands Ltd., a part of Reliance Industries Group. The partnership is looking to launch 20 Juicy Couture mono brand stores in India during the first five year phase, starting in Fall 2015. The stores will retail women’s and girls wear handbags, footwear, swimwear, lingerie, accessories and jewelry.
The Children’s Place
The Children’s Place (TCP) is the largest pure-play children specialty apparel retailer in North America offering fashionable, high quality and head to toe outfits at great prices. A pair of entrepreneurs started the company on the East Coast in 1969, and it gradually spread to West and South. As on May 2, 2015, the company operated 1,092 stores in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico, an online store and franchise partners. The majority of their stores are small, traditional mall stores, although some outlets are in a big box format.
Brought to India by Arvind Lifestyle Brands Ltd., TCP is the country’s first
head-to-toe fashion destination for children from 0-14 years, at price points beginning Rs 399 and going up to Rs 3,999. It further plans to open total of 10 stores with two each in Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad, New Delhi and Bengaluru by May 2016 at an investment of Rs 2.5 crore per store.
Kyoto-based Wacoal, the Japanese luxury lingerie brand was founded in 1949 in Japan and has 56 subsidiaries and 10 affiliated companies. Its main business is the manufacture, wholesale and retail of intimate apparel, outwear, sportswear and other textile products and accessories.
As a leader in the intimate apparel business, Wacoal uses modern fabrics, innovative technologies, advanced manufacturing processes, and unique designs to meet the evolving needs of today’s women. Through the years, their awareness and fit for the Cure programs have become increasingly popular.
The brand is being brought into the country by Wacoal India Private Ltd., a joint venture between Wacoal International Hong Kong and Periwinkle Fashions Pvt. Ltd. It has opened its first store in Mumbai recently where it presents its complete collection at High Street Phoenix premium retail destination. The company plans to invest nearly Rs 20 crore in India to open 75 stores over the next five years.
Originally founded in Amsterdam in 1886, by Wilhelm Hunkemöller and his wife Josephina Lexis. Hunkemöller, is the largest high-street lingerie brand of the Benelux. The luxury lingerie brand has its existence in 700 stores across 18 countries and islands. The company has developed a multi-channel strategy for expanding its operations through new shops, shop-in-shops, e-commerce and international franchising. Hunkemöller’s product range includes lingerie, nightwear, swimsuits, hosiery, beauty products and accessories.
The brand was brought by a long term franchisee agreement between Reliance Brands Ltd. and Hunkemoller International BV. The two firms are looking to open 20 Hunkemoller single brand stores in India in the first five years of partnership. The lingerie store in India provides a mix of cotton, satin and lace lingerie; nightwear, hosiery, garters, swimwear and accessories like eye masks, make-up pouches, night-time fluffy socks and bedroom slippers.
Galvanni as an idea was born in Italy in the early 70’s and came about as a Polo brand. With its headquarters in Turkey, Galvanni exists as a significant brand in polo, marine and basic sports clothing styles in the garment industry particularly in Europe, America, Asia, Middle East and African countries.
The brand is a top choice of worldwide sports people for its casual deluxe style with light knits, sporty prints, clean pattern and cuts. Galvanni brand meets customers through retail, wholesale and online sales network.
The Italian fashion brand made a foray into the Indian market via Fashionandyou, a fashion and lifestyle website. The agreement has further strengthened brand count and has bolstered Galvanni’s market position as the leading fashion destination offering its customers the best of international fashion brands.
Tom Tailor is a German vertically integrated lifestyle clothing company headquartered in Hamburg, operating in more than 35 countries with more than 350 centrally located retail stores. The brand is also available online in 21 countries.
Tom Tailor mainly provides classic and up-to-date casual wear, denims and accessories for men, women, young adults and children. For each of its four brands, Tom Tailor Group launches twelve collections per year. Tom Tailor denim and Tom Tailor entered India exclusively through Jabong.com, further establishing Jabong. com’s identity as a fashion forward online destination bringing new brands to Indian audiences.
UK’s iconic luxury footwear brand Church’s was founded in Northampton back in 1873 by Thomas Church and his three sons. In 1999, it was taken over by Prada Holding N.V., one of the world’s leaders in luxury design. Today, it’s better known as David Beckham and David Gandy’s go-to footwear. The shoes are made with great care, with authentic styles, artisan workmanship, with brogue motifs, burnished trim, and color meticulously applied by hand.
The brand is entering into India as a result of an exclusive distribution tie-up with Heel & Buckle. They plan to open 10-12 standalone outlets this year and 100-120 shop-in-shops in the next 2-3 years.
Selected Femme/Homme is a fashion-forward and contemporary unisex brand which breathes under the Danish company called Bestseller. Bestseller which is family-owned clothing and accessories company founded in Denmark in 1975 by Merete Bech Povlsen and Troels Holch Povlsen. It has over 3,000 chain stores across 38 markets worldwide and its products are sold in above 12,000 multi-brand and department stores in 53 markets worldwide.
Since Selected Femme/Homme started their journey in 1997, Selected was once exclusively for men, until Femme walked onto the Scandinavian fashion stage in 2008. Their collections are sold in 44 retail stores and through more than 2,500 wholesalers worldwide.
The brand Selected Homme has entered India exclusively through online fashion platform Jabong. Its range is divided into three lines: Indigo, Heritage and Identity. Sales at Bestseller Retail India doubled to Rs 235 crore in FY13.
FGX International is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Essilor International, the world’s leading ophthalmic optics company. Foster Grant being a part of FGX International is historically acclaimed as the original American sunglasses company since selling its first pair in 1929. The brand promises the meeting of classic American style with unstoppable performance along with product offering of fashionable sunglasses, driving sunglasses, polarized sunglasses, sporty sunglasses or non-prescription reading glasses. FGX International now designs and sources more than 125 million pairs of eye-wear annually sold from 1,00,000 retail locations around the globe.
The brand is expanding into India with the launch of Foster Grant Signature, the company’s iconic eye-wear brand. The signature collection includes sunglasses as well as prescription optical lenses with styles for men and women, meeting the highest quality standards and providing 100 per cent UVA/UVB sun protection. They are associated with one of India’s leading Bollywood stars, Sonakshi Sinha, who is the face of Foster Grant in India.
Nau was launched in 2005, it has operations in Italy and Spain with 90 stores in Italy and follows the single brand strategy everywhere they go. They are also looking at expanding their operations to other markets such as the US, Canada and other European countries in a couple of years.
The brand offers optical glasses, sunglasses, kids collection and accessories. They design and create limited edition glasses, with expression of Italian taste, fashion, design combined with passion and creativity.
Nau has decided to stick to exclusive outlets with its master franchisee, The Trinity Group, as an entry point for India and has already launched its second store in Delhi. The company is planning to open about 70 stores over the next five years at an investment of Rs 40-45 crore.
Bulova, the official time keeper and global partner of the English Premier League football club, Manchester United has finally made its foray into India. Headquartered in the US, the 140-year-old watchmaker that began business with a small jewelry establishment in 1875, under the eye of Joseph Bulova is known globally for its artistry and innovation.
The premium watch brand has entered Indian market through an exclusive sales tie-up with e-commerce major Amazon. Bulova will be looking to gain a foothold in the market through the ‘internet-only’ model initially and may look to set up brick-and-mortar stores after assessing the response. The company plans to launch its ‘Swiss’ collection in India at a later date. Initially, it will import majority of its collection and will be offering a selection of watches across its Automatic, Classic, Diamond, Marine Star, Precisionist and Caravelle range in India.
Poney Group was founded in the year 1992, by Albert Tan and wife, Sharon Ng. It is a leading kids’ wear retailer in Malaysia specializing in a wide range of comfortable and fashionable products for kids. These brands offer high quality apparels and accessories for newborns, toddlers and kids up to 12 years old under 3 well known brands: Poney, Baby Poney and Poney Enfants.
Poney has made its international appearances in Singapore, China, Indonesia, Middle East and other countries. Malaysian kidswear brand Poney has partnered with an integrated franchise solution company to expand its retail presence. Through this partnership, Poney has signed a master franchise agreement with Delhi-based Ajanta International Group. They plan to achieve a target turnover of Rs 100 crore in five years, plans to open five new stores each year. Other than tier-I cities the brand has plans to open stores in tier-II cities as well. The brand is in also talks with Indian kid-centric portals to sell its products.
Massimo Dutti is a Spanish clothes manufacturing company that is part of the Inditex group, the world’s largest fashion retailer. When founded in 1985, its product range was limited to men’s clothing, with a women’s range added in 1992. Massimo Dutti is present in 68 markets with a network of more than 700 stores. The brand designs its own offerings for women and men
clothing, accessories, fragrances, personal tailoring, etc.
Massimo Dutti had been trying to come to India since 2012 but its initial investment proposal was rejected by the FIPB on account of brand ownership. Finally, the application of Grupo Massimo Dutti S.A., a subsidiary of Inditex, was accepted. Massimo Dutti has also signed a joint venture agreement with the Tata group where it will own 51 per cent of the venture. They will take another few months before they open.