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This year, some 24 global companies are projected to open stores in India.

About two dozen international brands are expected to enter India with their stores this year, the most in a decade, encouraged by a post-Covid consumption surge, property consultants said.

Experts said that’s up from one global brand in 2020, three in 2021 and 11 in 2022. Before the pandemic, about 12-15 brands used to enter India every year. Italian luxury fashion brand Roberto Cavalli, British luxury goods brand Dunhill, American sportswear and footwear retailer Foot Locker are in talks to enter India.

In addition, chains such as Lavazza and Armani Caffe of Italy, Jamba of the US and The Coffee Club from Australia are also likely to enter India this year. “We expect food and beverage and a few entertainment brands to establish a presence in the Indian market in 2023,” said Anshuman Magazine, chairman and CEO, India, Southeast Asia, Middle East and Africa, CBRE. “The year has already witnessed several established international brands enter India after a hiatus due to Covid.”

More than a dozen international brands, including Valentino, McLaren and Balenciaga have debuted in India over the past few months, seeking to take advantage of greater demand for upscale labels since the Covid lockdowns.

Others that have come in include Pottery Barn, Pret A Manger, Tim Hortons and Popeyes.

Periodic store openings in fashion space
According to CBRE, retail leasing is expected to touch 5.5-6 million sq ft in 2023, the highest after the 2019 peak of 6.8 million sq ft.

“The fashion space is seeing periodic openings of new brands, particularly in partnership with the larger groups like Reliance and Aditya Birla,” said Pankaj Renjhen, COO and joint MD, Anarock Retail. “Home interiors retail has seen interest from two large global brands in the last year – West Elm and Pottery Barn opened up in India in partnership with Reliance.”

According to experts, about 30-35 international brands are expected to open shop in India in the 2021-23 period.

Aditya Birla Fashion and Retail Ltd (ABFRL) recently formed a partnership with Galeries Lafayette to open luxury department stores and a dedicated ecommerce platform in India.

Reliance Retail is set to bring Chinese fashion giant Shein back to India through a tie-up.

H&M has launched its home line within some of its flagship stores across India. In the next few years, the country could see one-two brands opening stores across F&B and the beauty and fashion spaces every month/year, experts said. Primarily, this will happen through partnerships with larger existing players.

“Overall, we expect to see a significant number of international brands entering India in the next two years,” Renjhen said. “Some of the mid-section brands currently in the process of expanding into India are Kiabi, Mavi, Avva, Colin’s, Damat, Tudba Deri and Dufy.”

Spending power
Now that India is the fifth-largest worldwide destination for retail, global brands are keen on a piece of the action. The spending power of urban Indian consumers is rising, and branded products in categories such as apparel, cosmetics, footwear, watches, beverages, cuisine, and even jewellery are progressively becoming popular for use in business and leisure.

“This is the time to be in India and this next decade, from a consumer tech perspective, is going to be the best we might have seen in the history of retail,” said Nitin Chhabra, CEO of Ace Turtle. The latter, which holds licences to sell fashion and lifestyle brands such as Lee, Wrangler, Toys ‘R’ Us and Babies ‘R’ Us in India, recently partnered with California lifestyle apparel brand Dockers to enter India.



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