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Indian Politics, Rupee Meltdown Stall H&M and Uniqlo Expansion

A Uniqlo store in New York. Photo by Brian Harkin for <a href="http://ny.racked.com/archives/2013/07/11/uniqlo_will_open_in_brooklyn_and_staten_island.php">Racked NY</a>.
A Uniqlo store in New York. Photo by Brian Harkin for Racked NY.

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Aggressive and competitive, fast-fashion retailers are constantly looking for new countries to conquer. But expansion into foreign markets can be tricky, as evidenced by the issues H&M and Uniqlo are encountering as they try to bring their business to India.

The Times of India reports that a rupee meltdown has caused both chains to defer their plans for Indian stores, but anonymous sources are attributing the holdup to the state of politics in India, stating that the chains have decided to wait until a year after the country's 2014 elections before making any moves. "As a part of their change in strategy, Uniqlo, which is all set to partner with Arvind Brand, has begun to let go of locations it had blocked for store openings and Swedish brand H&M is identifying store locations that will only be available by 2016," writes FashionUnited.

Just months ago, both stores expressed their interest in opening at the Mall of India outside Delhi, with H&M going as far as to lease office space in Bangalore. Ikea, Gap and Sketchers have also been sniffing around India; meanwhile, Spanish cheap-chic chain Zara has the jump on its rivals and has been operating in India for three years with outposts in Mumbai, Pune, Bangalore and Delhi.
· Hit by forex woes, fashion giants H&M, Uniqlo defer India stores [Times of India]
· Rupee meltdown: H&M, Uniqlo put India stores on hold [Fashion United]
· Uniqlo is Opening 10 Stores in the US This Fall [Racked]