The $16-billion US apparel brand Gap on Friday entered into a partnership with Arvind Lifestyle Brands to open 40 stores in India starting early next year. The first two outlets of the San Francisco-based firm under the franchise model will open in Mumbai and Delhi.
“India is an emerging, vibrant market and an important next step in our global expansion strategy,” said Steve Sunnucks, global president of Gap. “Gap is loved around the world for our American casual style and enduring value and quality and we are so pleased to bring our brand and products to life for customers in India.”
Gap operates under the Gap, Banana Republic, Old Navy, Piperlime, Athleta and Intermix brands, and is available in over 90 countries through about 3,100 company-operated stores, over 350 franchise stores and e-commerce sites.
According to Gap, as the world’s second most populous country, India represents an important platform in Gap’s strategy. The company, which grew 3% last quarter, has been trying to expand into emerging economies to reduce its dependence on North American markets, which contribute around 75% to its revenues.
“More than half of India’s population is under 25 years of age and they are actively embracing fashion in today’s retail environment,” said Ismail Seyis, vice-president of Gap Global Franchise.
“We look forward to gaining a deeper understanding of the marketplace and consumer needs to create the best possible Gap brand experience for the local consumers,” he added.
Arvind Lifestyle Brands, a subsidiary of the Rs 6,500-crore textile major Arvind, has been sewing up a slew of partnerships. Arvind Brands already has a partnership with various apparel firms, with licences for brands like Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin Klein, Arrow, IZOD, US Polo Association, Elle, Ed Hardy, Hanes, Cherokee, Mossimo and Geoffrey Beene, apart from its own portfolio of 12 brands. Arvind Brands, which has more than 1,000 stores across brands and formats, plans to open 150-200 stores every year.
“We have a long and successful association with Gap as their vendor partner. We see the addition of Gap to our portfolio as a significant step to becoming the leading apparel retailer in India” said Sanjay Lalbhai, chairman & managing director of Arvind.
Arvind plans to achieve a turnover of Rs 600-750 crore over the next five years when the partnership reaches 40 outlets.
On Tuesday, Arvind had announced a separate subsidiary called Arvind Internet (AIL), an e-commerce platform of its own, called Creyate, for custom-made