As per an article in Times of India, Hennes & Mauritz (H&M) and Uniqlo are deferring their India launches on account of the depreciating rupee and weakened domestic economic sentiments. The brands remain committed to India but want to postpone the first stores to 2015, seeking a one-year window after next year's general elections. This is expected to provide a better assessment of the political and economic stability before an aggressive entry.
Uniqlo has started releasing locations blocked for the initial set of stores, scheduled to open early next year originally. The Japanese brand is ready to partner with Arvind Ltd. for the local stores with a caveat that openings would have to wait longer.
Similarly, Swedish rival H&M, which applied to India's foreign investment promotion board, for a fully owned subsidiary, is scouting for store locations that will come into the market only by 2016. It will continue with the local business development strategies, and has leased a 10,000 sq.ft. office space in Bangalore for the same, besides stepping up sourcing activity from India.
Meanwhile, Zara, which entered India three years ago, has continued to maintain its sharp pricing, notwithstanding the falling rupee. Unlike H&M and Uniqlo, Zara, has a significant sourcing base in India, which provides some sort of currency hedge in volatile times such as these when we have seen the rupee fall 17% against the dollar in the last 6 months).