First Disney Store opens in India

Disney has opened the doors of its first franchise store in India, as it looks to get a foothold in the territory's lucrative retail market.
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The store, which will initially sell Walt Disney Co's branded stationery products under the name 'Disney Artist, is situated in Gurgaon, a suburb of New Delhi.

Last October, Disney revealed a tie-up with India's RJ Corp to enter the local market. The firm is hoping that the partnership will help boost its presence in India, where rising middle-class incomes are driving demand for branded products from the West.

"There is a lot of potential for retailing the Disney brands, which are not currently available in India," commented Arjun Verma, CFO of Devyani International - which is a subsidiary of RJ Corp. "Right now we are just going to concentrate on the stationery, but other things may follow."

Verma also told The Associated Press that the company had plans to set up 150 outlets over the next three years in India.

India's retail market is estimated to be about $200 billion per year. It is currently dominated by 12 million 'mom and pop' shops and the government has been slow to open up the market to others to protect them. However, last year it said it would allow foreign companies to invest in retail stores for single-brand products in partnership with Indian firms.

The likes of Nokia, Marks & Spencer and Adidas have already moved to set up their own stores. Their products were previously sold through franchises.

Multi-product retail companies such as Wal-Mart are still banned from opening stores in India.

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