By  on February 5, 2009

PARIS - Inditex, Europe's biggest clothing retailer, said it will open Zara stores in India starting next year, having signed an agreement with Indian conglomerate the Tata Group.

Inditex will hold 51 percent of the joint venture, while Trent Limited, a Tata company, will hold the remaining 49 percent.

The joint venture will see the first Zara stores open in New Delhi, Mumbai and other Indian cities from 2010, Inditex said.

“We view our entry into the Indian market to be of significant strategic importance,” stated Pablo Isla, Inditex deputy chairman and chief executive officer. “Our retail offering has been very well received by shoppers in Asian markets, and we have expanded rapidly there.”

Inditex operates more than 4,200 stores in 73 countries under banners including Bershka, Massimo Dutti and Zara Home.

Europe’s fast-fashion players are bucking recessionary headwinds and continuing their expansion drives into new growth markets, including Asia and the Middle East.

Last week, Sweden’s Hennes & Mauritz said it would open 225 stores this year, while Spain’s Mango said it would unveil 150 stores.

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