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Deep Dive: International Apparel Retailers in India—Jumping the Hurdles in Pursuit of Growth

Executive Summary

This report is the first in a brief series that looks at international retailers’ operations in India. It focuses on international apparel retailers’ entry to India and considers their domestic counterparts.

  • Underpinned by raised inflation levels, clothing and footwear is a fast-growing category in India.
  • The Indian government provides five methods of entry into the Indian market for international apparel retailers: licensing, franchising, wholly owned subsidiary, joint venture (JV) or limited liability partnership.
  • The JV route was the preferred option for international retailers from the time the Indian government undertook economic liberalization reforms in the early 1990s until 2012, when the government removed the cap on foreign direct investment (FDI) in single-brand retail. H&M was the first international apparel retailer to establish a wholly owned subsidiary in India.

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