NEW DELHI — Japanese retailer Muji is set to enter India with its retail format that combines fashion, housewares, beauty, innerwear, stationery and other products.
Muji parent Ryohin Keikaku Co. Ltd. has formed a joint venture with Reliance Brands to open stores. “This is the first big Japanese retail company coming into the Indian retail market,” Darshan Mehta, president and chief operating officer of Reliance Brands, told WWD. Reliance Brands has more than 18 brand partnerships — which means more than 24 brands on the Indian market — and six joint ventures, including the one with Japanese company Ryohin Keikaku Co. Ltd. this week.
Muji has more than 7,000 stockkeeping units in its stores – all the different segments will launch in India through large-format standalone stores ranging from 6,000 to 10,000 square feet. The annual turnover of Ryohin Keikaku Co. Ltd., which is listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange, was $2.2 billion in 2014.
“International expansion is of utmost priority at Muji and India is our next big Asian market with immense growth potential,” said Satoru Matsuzaki, president and representative director of Ryohin Keikaku.
“India’s young, educated and cosmopolitan population gives Muji a ready cache of prospective customers,” he added.
The company has focused extensively on international markets in recent years, with 45 percent of its sales coming from outside Japan.
The most recent launch was in Australia with a 10,000-square-foot store in Sydney. The retailer is expected to double its number of stores this year in the Middle East, with eight more openings. China is the biggest international market for Muji, where it launched in 2005, and where the company has more than 100 stores.
The brand has more than 700 stores across Japan, Asia, Europe, the U.S. and Australia.
This will be the third joint venture for the company — the other two being in South Korea and Thailand.
The furniture offered by Muji is expected to be priced 30 to 40 percent higher than at Ikea, which entered India recently and which is expected to open its first store in 2016. However, with its offering across a variety of lifestyle product segments, Muji is expected to add a new dimension to retail in India.
“Muji products are extremely high-quality and have been designed to cater to the lifestyle of urban dwellers,” Mehta observed.
The $550 billion Indian retail market is expected to triple in size over the next six years, with both global and domestic retailers growing their presence in the bigger cities of New Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore as well as smaller towns such as Chandigarh, Surat, Ludhiana, and Hyderabad.