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H&M to open first Indian store in 2014

Swedish fashion giant H&M said Wednesday it will open its first Indian store in 2014, taking advantage of the opening-up of the giant Asian market to foreign retailers.

STOCKHOLM: Swedish fashion giant H&M said Wednesday it will open its first Indian store in 2014, taking advantage of the opening-up of the giant Asian market to foreign retailers.

"We have now received the written confirmation that we can open stores by ourselves in India," H&M spokesman Haakan Andersson told AFP.

The Swedish company did not provide many details about the first shop other than it planned as a "flagship" store.

"As we are looking at many different cities and locations, we can't as of yet announce exactly where and when we will open the first store," Andersson added.

In April last year, the Indian government confirmed that H&M had applied to make a 100 million euro ($131 million) investment to open up to 50 shops in the country.

"We will of course, as we proceed, open more stores in India, whether this year or next year," Andersson said.

Since the country relaxed in 2012 its legislation to allow foreign retailers to open fully-owned subsidiaries in the country, many international firms have shown great interest in India, Asia's third-largest market.

"We are very excited to open our first store in India," chief executive Karl-Johan Persson said in a statement.

"It is one of the most exciting countries in the world right now, with so much potential."

H&M is also preparing its first openings in 2014 in Australia and the Philippines, and has announced strong expansions in China and the United States.

The Swedish firm has currently around 3,100 stores in 53 markets worldwide and battles for dominance in the global fashion industry with Spanish competitor Inditex, which owns Zara.

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