Reliance ‘perfect partner’ for Primark to tap India’s apparel market

Primark has been assessing the Indian market for several years and is considering a potential collaboration with Reliance, either through a joint venture or licensing agreement, according to the Indian news agency, The Economic Times.

While China is Primark’s primary sourcing country, India is a close second, with both small and large scale factories based in the region.

Primark is said to have integrated nearshoring into its supply chain strategy, enabling direct delivery of goods from Indian suppliers to local retail outlets. This approach could enhance cost management and flexibility, while ensuring responsiveness to the unique demands of the Indian market.

GlobalData’s retail analyst Neil Saunders believes Primark would be quite like “a slice” of India’s massive apparel market which is growing rapidly and added that the retailer has been evaluating how it can enter the country.

However, he noted, that foreign retailers entering India are often challenged by various regulations, including investment restrictions, so “any move is difficult”.

Saunders told Just Style: “A partnership with Reliance would help Primark navigate many of these complexities and would also have it understand some of the specific aspects of the market. Primark will also need to assess how its offer fits the needs of Indian consumers. The company already allows a degree of localization in assortments, so this could be helpful.”

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GlobalData’s apparel analyst Chloe Collins echoed a similar sentiment, telling Just Style that Primark will “need to adapt” its ranges and stores to ensure they are properly catering to Indian consumers. She added that Reliance will be a “perfect” partner in this respect, thanks to its strong local knowledge.

Collins told Just Style: “International expansion has been Primark’s main growth driver in the last few years, so it comes as no surprise that the company is now looking beyond Europe and the US to open stores in Asia. India’s growing economy makes it a strong prospective country for Primark to focus on, with plenty of consumers seeking out affordable fashion.”

The Economic Times reports that most of India’s Primark stores are expected to be located on high streets, owing to its usual big box format. This contrasts with the approach of other global retailers, who tend to prioritize malls in India.

Reliance Industries’ portfolio of brands includes multiple international brand partnerships such as Valentino, Balenciago, Tod’s, Burberry and others.

Reliance Industries and Primark had not responded to Just Style’s request for comment at the time of going to press.

In February Primark shared plans to invest more than £100m ($126.14m) in UK retail in 2024, with new store openings lined up in England and Scotland.

By yowuj