Fast Retailing has applied for approval to open stores in India amid Asia’s largest clothing chain’s push to increase its footprint across the globe. The Japanese company submitted an application on November 21 and seeks to do business in the country under the Uniqlo brand name, according to a filing on India’s Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion website.
A representative of Fast Retailing didn’t immediately respond to an email, outside of business hours, seeking comment. Fast Retailing, which last month forecast that international sales for its Uniqlo chain will exceed those in Japan this fiscal year, has been pushing to expand overseas as wages languish and the population ages at home. The brand’s international store count surpassed the number of locations in Japan two years ago.
The Japanese company, which has been seeking to enter India for several years, will follow Inditex SA’s Zara and Hennes & Mauritz AB in an apparel market that’s forecast by Euromonitor International will grow 29 percent to 3.76 trillion rupees ($58 billion) by 2021. Inditex opened a flagship Zara shop in Mumbai in May, which has had a strong reception, Chief Executive Officer Pablo Isla said in September. It recently started online sales in India.
Retail chain operators in India are benefiting from a government push to cut cash payment that’s prompting shoppers to increasingly use credit cards and digital payments services. Such store networks have an advantage — in a country where per capita incomes have more than doubled in the past decade — as most small mom-and-pop stores largely take cash payment.