H&M will open its first store in India this year as the world’s second-biggest fashion retailer becomes the latest to take advantage of the opening of its economy to foreign operators.
The Swedish retailer received final approval in December from the Indian government to invest in the country and plans an initial investment in 50 stores in a bid to catch up with its rival, Zara owner Inditex, in emerging markets.
It joins a flurry of international retailers, including Swedish furniture chain Ikea, looking to plant a flag in India after its government moved in 2012 to allow foreign firms to set up wholly owned subsidiaries in the country. Inditex is already in India through a joint venture.
Despite worries over inflation in India, which have triggered a succession of interest rate rises from the central bank, H&M chief executive Karl-Johan Persson said: “It is one of the most exciting countries in the world right now, with so much potential.”