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Mumbai: Twenty-three global retailers including Dunkin Donuts, Roberto Cavalli, Armani Juniors and Starbucks set up operations in New Delhi and Mumbai in 2012 despite India’s sluggish economic growth and lower consumer spending, real estate consultant CBRE said in a report released on Friday.

New Delhi saw 13 global retailers open shop, according to the CBRE report on Retail Hotspots in Asia Pacific, more than other Asian markets such as Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur and Jakarta. Mumbai saw 10 foreign retailers such as Starbucks and Superdry set shop in the same period.

New Delhi is a maturing retail market in the Asia-Pacific region similar to Beijing, Shanghai and Ho Chi Minh City, according to CBRE.

To be sure, Singapore and Hong Kong recorded a larger number of new entrants with 27 and 51 new retailers setting up operations in these markets, respectively, said the CBRE report.

Asia-Pacific is expected to account for just under half of the world’s total retail sales by 2016. Despite slower economic and retail sales growth in 2012, the region continued to lure retail chains looking to capitalise on its young population, growing middle class and rising incomes.

“International retailers from across the globe are slowly but surely looking at India as a mature and viable market to expand their business," said Anshuman Magazine, chairman and managing director, CBRE South Asia Pvt. Ltd. in a media release. “With the government permitting FDI (foreign direct investment) in multi-brand retail, we can expect more international retailers to seriously consider the growing consumer base here."

In the eight months since India relaxed norms for overseas investment in retail, proposals worth about Rs11,355 crore, including Swedish furniture maker Ikea’s proposal worth Rs10,500 crore, have been cleared by the government for single-brand retail ventures such as those of Decathalon, Pavers, Fossil and Promod, according to information from various government sites and companies.

The government announced its new policy on FDI in single- and multi-brand retail on 20 September, overcoming resistance from various quarters. It eased norms for the first and allowed up to 51% FDI for the second, contingent on the approval of the respective state governments.

Ten states, including Maharashtra, Delhi and Haryana, will allow overseas retailers to open stores. The remaining states are yet to approve the policy.

Delhi and the National Capital Region (NCR) continue to find favour with international retailers looking at India; Japan’s Uniqlo and Sweden’s Hennes and Mauritz (H&M) chose the city over other Indian cities such as Mumbai and Bangalore for their India launches.

Both these companies are moving closer to finalizing anchor store space at DLF Ltd’s 1.8 million sq.ft. Mall of India in Noida’s Sector 18, just outside Delhi, Mint reported on 8 May.

According to the CBRE report, luxury and business retailers accounted for the highest portion at 26% in Asia-Pacific in 2012.

In overall terms, new store openings for mid-range fashion retailers are expanding at a faster rate compared to their luxury counterparts. Retailers from the US accounted for 70 new entries across Asia-Pacific in 2012, CBRE said in the report.

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