Hennes & Mauritz, a Swedish multinational retail-clothing company, plans to spend around 100 million euros ($130 million) to open a chain of 50 stores in India. The company’s interest in India’s potential market is fueled by India’s growing population and rising incomes.
A sizeable section of the population in Asia's third-largest economy now has the spending power to catch up with fast-changing fashions.
The plan to enter the Indian market is a part of the company’s larger expansion plans. Fredrik Olsson, head of expansion at the world's second-biggest fashion retailer, said in an interview that the Swedish group would continue a rapid rollout of stores across the world as it aims to stand up to larger rival Inditex.
H&M has been able to hold its own even in a faltering global economy by focusing on bringing catwalk styles to the mass market at a fraction of the price.
H&M has around 2,800 stores in 49 countries and about 80 per cent of sales come from Europe.
According to Olsson, H&M had made an investment application to the Indian government, adding the figures were just an estimate. He did not give a time-frame for the opening of a first store in the country.
Speaking to Reuters at H&M's headquarters in downtown Stockholm's shopping district, he said, "It is a very interesting market with a huge population and a growing middle class."
Lately H&M has been adding other brands to its core H&M chain, such as & Other Stories, to broaden its customer base.
H&M would start selling with the core H&M brand in India and has applied to sell nine different product categories.
Many international retailers, including Swedish budget furniture chain IKEA, are eager to expand into India after its government moved last year to allow foreign firms to set up wholly-owned subsidiaries in the country.
Indian retail consultancy Technopak estimates that the textile and clothing market in the country would more than double to $141 billion by 2021, from $58 billion in 2012.