Swedish fashion retailer giant Hennes & Mauritz (H&M), the world's second-biggest clothing retailer by sales behind Zara owner Inditex SA, has sought government permission to enter single-brand retail segment in India.
H&M proposes to open 50 single-brand retail stores in India with estimated investment of 100 million euros (around Rs700 crore or around $130 million).
The investments will be through the 100 per cent ownership route allowed under single brand retail FDI policy announced by the department of industrial policy and promotion (DIPP) and will be spread a period of time.
While the company has confirmed the 100 million euro investment proposal, it has not ascertained the timeline of the investment.
''After the liberalisation of FDI policy in single brand retail, there has been a considerable interest shown by all global retail majors. The government remains committed to liberal economic reforms agenda,'' commerce and industry minister Anand Sharma said in a statement welcoming H&M's proposal.
He said the government viewed foreign investments as a source of technology, finance and means of creating gainful employment in the country.
H&M has around 2,800 stores spread across 49 markets across the world, employing over one lakh people. It has the largest presence in Germany, followed by the US, the UK and France.
The H&M group sells brands including COS, Monki, Weekday and Cheap Monday and Other Stories as well as H&M Home. The company had posted sales of SEK 140.95 billion in 2012.
H&M is the second Swedish retailer after furniture major IKEA sought permission to set up shop in India under the relaxed FDI norms.
India's $500 billion retail market offers a huge opportunity for these foreign retailers while foreign investments could help India expand its economy.