PM to meet Japanese retailer Uniqlo on India entry plans

Written by Shruti Srivastava | New Delhi | Updated: Sep 1 2014, 13:36pm hrs
UniqloUniqlo, which is targeting around 1,500 stores across the globe and has been studying the Indian market for the last two years. (Reuters)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to meet Japanese retail giant Uniqlo to discuss the progress on its entry into India, taking off from his meeting with the companys chief executive in June.

Modi, who is in Japan on a five-day visit which began on August 30, will meet Tadashi Yanai, chairman and CEO, Uniqlo, among others to discuss the development so far regarding sourcing from the country and opening stores. Uniqlo, owned by Fast Retailing Co Ltd, is the largest apparel retailer in Japan.

In June, Yanai had met Modi, commerce and industry minister Nirmala Sitharaman and textiles minister Santosh Kumar Gangwar to discuss its plans of setting up stores in India. Uniqlo, which currently has 632 stores outside Japan, is targeting around 1,500 stores across the globe and has been studying the Indian market for the last two years.

The company had then asked the Apparel Export Promotion Council (AEPC) to identify 10 big garment exporters, which have scale and robust compliance standards.

The AEPC has already given a list of 22 exporters and the company is expected to finalise a list of suppliers soon, a source said adding that Haryana-based Shahi Exports Pvt Ltd has already started supplying to the Japanese clothing giant.

The company also plans to invest in some of the Indian companies for which MoUs are being worked out, the source said.

The AEPC has also proposed to arrange a standalone buyer-seller meet in India exclusively for Uniqlo while asking fashion designers and production experts of the company to India for a technical meeting with garment factories.

Several multinational brands including Zara, Next, GAP, Marks & Spencer, Ann Taylor, Ralph Lauren, Abercrombie and Fitch source substantially from India, which has a textile and clothing value chain worth $90 billion, around 5 per cent of the GDP.

The AEPC had said that it could act as a facilitator to Uniqlo in setting up a production and sourcing base in India for apparels, the source said. Currently, Uniqlo sources apparel from China, Vietnam, Bangladesh and Indonesia.

The new government is aiming at foreign investments to revive manufacturing in the country. It has already liberalised the FDI regime in the defence, railway infrastructure and construction sector.

As such, 100 per cent FDI is already allowed in the single-brand retail segment. Japan ranks fourth in terms of FDI in India.