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H&M enjoys speedy rise to India success, turns profitable in just six months

How successful has H&M’s entry into India been? Impressively so. The Swedish fashion giant has come halfway as far as rival Zara did in seven years in the country, according to figures seen by The Economic Times, while turning profitable in its first six months of operations.

H&M’s latest annual report said its India unit posted INR445 crore in sales for the year ending November 2016. Zara reported sales of INR842 crore for the year ended March 2016.

Established retailers such as Levi Strauss, Benetton (around two decades of country trading) and Marks & Spencer (one decade) had sales of INR700 crore-INR800 crore. Domestic firm Fabindia remains the biggest lifestyle brand, with sales of INR918 crore for the fiscal year ended March 2016.

Inditex-owned Zara, which opened its first store in 2010, had formerly set the benchmark as the fastest-growing and biggest international apparel brand in India.

But H&M, whose performance was the best the retail market has seen within the apparel space, had 12 operational stores during December 2015-November 2016.

H&M turned profitable in its first six months of India operations and posted INR94 crore in sales from four stores opened between October 2015 and March 2016. The brand had announced it will open 50 stores with an investment of INR700 crore by 2020.

The Indian retail market was worth $641bn in 2016 and is expected to reach $1.6trn by 2026, growing at a compound annual growth rate of 10%, according to the India Business of Fashion 2017 report.

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