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    The American retail giant creates a buzz with its first Indian store in South Delhi

    eading a slew of international high street names such as H&M, Uniqlo and Topshop’s entry into the country (scheduled to take place over the course of the year), is quintessential casual American clothing retailer Gap, also known for chic kids and baby products. Actor Kangana Ranaut, clothed in a casual yet trendy, Gap ensemble of distressed jeans, baseball tee and light denim coat, inaugurated the store and drew in large crowds — a huge plus for the store, located at New Delhi’s Select Citywalk Mall. Set up in 1969 by Donald and wife, Doris Fisher, Gap started as a little shop on San Francisco’s Ocean Avenue, stocking Levi’s and LP records. With the Fishers still actively involved in its business, Gap now retails out of over 3,000 locations around the globe.
    Spread across a sprawling 10,000 square feet, the retailer, set up in partnership with Arvind Lifestyle Brands, has played up its denim line, which is its forte. The store currently stalks its Summer 2015 line, focussing on linen and cotton, which are ideal for the Indian weather, with the colour palette shifting from bright yellow to cool minty green and crimson red on dresses, skirts, tops, shorts, beach wear, accessories and trousers for both men and women. They also have a lot of whites and off-whites, which is a given for Gap and tropical prints that make their way onto men’s shorts too. Though the products are uniform across stores globally and prices are more or less the same, Oliver Kaye, the business head of Gap India says the Indian consignment will be climate appropriate. “The adult section is a mix of wood and metal finishes, while the Gap Kids is done up with bright pinks and blues. The Baby section sees a lot of toned down shades,” explains Kaye.
    While quite a lot has been said about Gap’s entry being a bit late by market experts, Kaye believes otherwise. “With Uniqlo and H&M yet to enter India, I think we’ve timed it perfectly. What we offer is completely different, from what’s out there. We do classic and casual American garments that are also trendy. And the kids and baby wear we offer is unmatched,” he says.
    Expert opinion
    Fashion editor of Harper’s Bazaar, Krishna Mukhi echoes his thoughts. “I think the brands similar to Gap are Bossini and United Colors of Benetton, and as we all know, they don’t really have a huge presence. I do think that we have a need for what they offer, right from their resort wear to nightwear,” she says. While Gap’s other brands like Banana Republic and Old Navy will not be entering India just yet, we’re hoping it happens soon.0506BuyLead11
    There are no plans for an online store as of now, but word on the street is that it is set to open in metros like Bangalore, Chennai and Mumbai by 2016. Kaye however, shies away from giving out an exact date. “We’re in talks with a few people, but nothing is certain yet,” he signs off.

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