Brand Awareness Much Higher In India
Top US apparel brand Gap is all set to open its first store in India in New Delhi’s Select Citywalk mall on Saturday, May 30. Its Indian franchisee partner Arvind Lifestyle plans to open 10 Gap stores by next year in Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru with an investment of around Rs 100 crore, and increase the store count to 40 in five years.
“Gap is not a niche opportunity for us but a large opportunity,” J Suresh, managing director of Arvind Lifestyle Brands said. He feels Gap can be a Rs 1,000-crore brand in the next 5-6 years. Stefan Laban, senior vice-president at Gap Specialty International, feels that it’s just about the right time for the brand to entering the Indian market.
Indian consumer is very fashionable and knowledgeable. They are educated about the brands and are aware of the prices as well. This made us take some time to come here,” he said. “We want to open few stores in Delhi and Mumbai to get the brand out and going. We started talking to Arvind almost two years ago. The strategy and the negotiations took some time. We could have launched two years ago, but we didn’t want to first come here and then learn,” Laban added.
Meanwhile Suresh said, “We are looking at opening 10 stores with an investment of Rs 100 crore by mid of next year. Store openings will depend on space availability but we plan to focus on Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore for Gap’s first 10 stores.”
Arvind Lifestyle Brands also plans to open 40 stores in five years in top 15 cities of the country. “Only after we have opened 40 stores, we will think at opening stores at smaller towns. Gap’s full range of clothing and accessories for men, women and kids will be available in its stores in the country,” Suresh Said.