Fashion chain Zara opens first store in India

Image caption, Zara is expanding rapidly around the world.

Fashion retailer Zara has opened its first store in India.

Its Spanish parent company, Inditex, opened a store in Delhi as part of a joint venture with Indian conglomerate Tata Group.

A second store in Delhi and an outlet store in Mumbai are scheduled to open in the coming weeks.

Inditex is continuing Zara’s rapid global expansion, helping to cushion the effects of the economic crisis that Spain is experiencing.

“Zara’s entry into India, the world’s second most populous country with a population of 1.1 billion, marks a new milestone in Inditex Group’s expansion in Asia,” the group said.

India’s rapid growth

Inditex says Asia now accounts for 12% of the group’s sales and the company already has stores in Japan, Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia.

Rapid economic growth is driving more Western companies into the Indian market, leading to a significant expansion of India’s middle class.

Figures released on Monday showed India’s economy grew at an annualized rate of 8.6 percent in the three months to March.

But Indian law requires foreign retailers to first find a domestic partner.

Spain emerged from recession with its economy growing 0.1 percent in the first quarter of 2010, but unemployment remains sluggish at 20 percent.

The Spanish government is also continuing its austerity measures to reduce the country’s large budget deficit from 11.2% to 3% of the economy by 2013.

This could further squeeze consumer spending in Spain.

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