H&M Plans India Entry

As H&M, the world’s second-largest fashion brand, lines up musical performances for the opening of its first store at Select City mall on October 2, a national holiday, its closest rivals Gap and Zara are readying for a showdown with hefty discounts and early store opening, according to people aware of the retailers’ plans.

Gap, the world’s fourth-largest fashion brand by sales which entered India in May, will sell apparels with prices marked down by a quarter, while Zara, which has become the first brand in India to cross the 100-million US dollar sales mark, has advanced its store opening that day by an hour.

Once a top fashion retailer for teenagers and young adults, Gap’s popularity has been challenged in recent years by Zara and H&M, which offer fast fashion and trendy clothes for less. “These are the real fashion retailers and their behaviour and response to competition is very different, and that is why we are seeing something like this,” Harminder Sahni, founder of retail consultancy Wazir Advisors said. “Now, we are getting into a different era altogether.” Globally, Zara and H&M are competing for the No. 1 position. Now, Swedish retailer H&M has also moved into Zara’s domain of fast fashion which is churning out new styles that hit the stores in record time. Spain’s Zara has responded by creating an affordable line to match H&M’s prices.