Mumbai: Trendy and affordable clothing retailer brand Forever 21 received a lukewarm response at the launch of its first store in Mumbai, at the Infiniti II mall in Malad over the weekend.

The footfalls were however higher than those at Mango, Forever New, Charles and Keith and Bebe, some of the other brands in the mall, which wore a deserted look. India’s economic growth has slowed to a decade low of 5%, hitting sales of retail firms.

Zara, though, is among the handful of fashion brands that has defied the trend of consumers cutting back on their discretionary spends as shoppers continue to throng to its stores.

Following Zara’s success, other global fast fashion retailers like Sweden’s H & M Hennes & Mauritz AB (H&M) and Japan’s Uniqlo Co. Ltd are also planning to launch their operations in India.

Meanwhile, in a slowing economy, retailers looking for growth have been offering extended sales and discounts in the past year as consumers tighten purse strings.

For instance, after its bi-annual sale that lasts for close to three months, Vero Moda, another affordable fashion brand, ran a day-long promotion on 1 June, offering a 60% discount. Queues started forming at 5am, and at 8am close to 500 people were waiting to get into the store.

While India still remains a growth market, global brands are seeking to tap the potentially large pool of young shoppers. After the government revised its foreign direct investment policy for single-brand retail, brands such as Pavers, Ikea, Fossil and Promod have been cleared to enter India.

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