When French Connection UK opens its first India store in Mumbai next week, it will be a homecoming of sorts for the British retailer. The over 30-year-old clothing retailer, known for it’s FCUK branding, set up its first foreign manufacturing facility in India more than 25 years ago.
India manufactured products make up nearly 25% of its global production and some of these will now be supplied to the Indian stores. “It’s great to be here because of the historical link we have with India,” said Neil Williams, FCUK’s chief operating officer. The firm plans to have eight stores across Mumbai and Delhi by the end of the year. The label also plans to be in Bangalore and Hyderabad, next year.
Founded in 1972 in the UK, FCUK is a high-end, youth fashion brand, with a presence in 25 countries. It’s known for its cutting edge clothing, accessories and for the runaway success of its popular T-shirts sporting slogans with a play on the word FCUK.
Clothing retail makes for over a third of all organized retail sales and is among the fastest growing, according to a research report by KSA Technopak, a management consulting company. With the urban young forming the bulk of customers for organized retail, which is growing at 8-9% a year, international fashion brands are expanding their India presence.
Last week, French fashion retailer, Esprit said it would introduce its children’s and youth brands to India. Spanish retailer Zara is said to be scouting for an Indian partner to enter the market with.
FCUK already has such a partner. “This brand was a perfect fit for the Indian market,” said Murjani Group managing director Vijay Murjani, which is FCUK’s Indian partner. “We found that there was a high recall value for the FCUK brand already. Besides, there is a large consumer base for a brand like this.”
“Our core collection will be the same here as it is globally,” said Williams. “French Connection’s controversial global FCUK ad campaigns will also be used here.”