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Reuters/Kevin Lamarque
Gap is rapidly expanding into emerging markets.

Gap is latest US clothing label to enter India; plans 40 stores starting next year

By Diksha Madhok

American apparel retailer Gap Inc. is planning to open 40 stores in India, and the first stores will be seen in Delhi and Mumbai in 2015.

The California-based fashion chain said it is partnering with Arvind Lifestyle Brand Limited, a subsidiary of Arvind Limited, which is one of Asia’s largest denim producers, and a long-time Gap supplier. The first stores will start with Gap’s Summer 2015 collection for adults, kids and babies.

The announcement accompanied company’s quarterly results on Thursday. Its revenue rose 3% to $3.98 billion. Gap’s net profit rose to $332 million in the second quarter from $303 million a year ago.

The move to India is part of Gap’s strategy to expand to international, emerging markets as sales at home stagnate. The company currently has 231 Gap stores in Asia, and is also aiming to open 110 Gap stores in mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan this year, according to a Reuters report.

“More than half of India’s population is under 25 and they are actively embracing fashion in today’s retail environment,” said Ismail Seyis, vice president of Gap Global Franchise. “We are thrilled to know that our brand awareness is very high and there is a deep affinity for Gap in India.”

India allows single-brand retailers such as Gap to operate stores in India, but restricts investments by multi-brand retailers such as Walmart. American brands such as Levi’s, Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin Klein and European labels such as Zara, United Colours of Benetton and Lacoste are popular in India. Many American brands that are not present in India still find their way on to online shopping websites that deliver in the country.