Spain's Zara to walk into India next year: Inditex

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Indy Lifestyle Online

Spain's Inditex, Europe's largest clothing retailer, said on Thursday that it will open the first five branches in India of its flagship Zara brand next year.

The announcement by Inditex chief executive Pablo Isla came as the company reported profits over the nine months to October 31 were down 1.5 percent at 831 million euros (1.22 billion dollars).

It said sales rose 6.0 percent to 7.6 billion euros.

Zara, which opened its first shop in China in 2007, plans five branches in India in 2010, starting in New Delhi early in the year followed by Mumbai and then other cities, Isla said.

He said about half of Zara's new stores over the next few years will be in Asia.

Analysts say the move is part of Inditex's strategy of hedging its dependence on Western Europe.

Investment bank Goldman Sachs predicts India, the world's second-most populous country after China, will expand annually by some 6.2 percent from 2011 to 2050.

Many members of India's rising middle class are already familiar with Zara's stylish designs which resemble those of the big-name Italian fashion houses and are sold at moderate prices.

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