Clothing retailer American Eagle Outfitters Inc is to enter India – the world's largest youth market – through licensed stores.

The Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania-based company has signed a multi-year license agreement with the Aditya Birla Group, a leading Indian conglomerate with an extensive retail portfolio, as well as strong digital and omni-channel capabilities.

The first stores are expected to open in Mumbai and Delhi in spring 2018.

"India's rapidly developing and vibrant economy, anchored by the world's largest youth population, provides an exciting growth opportunity for our brands, expanding our global reach," comments Andrew McLean, EVP-global commercial operations.

"Aditya Birla brings deep market experience and extensive retail capabilities, giving us a strong platform to deliver our leading AE jeans collections and casual American style to India's growing market."

The company operates the American Eagle Outfitters and Aerie brands through more than 1,000 stores in the US, Canada, Mexico, China and Hong Kong. Merchandise is also available at more than 190 international locations operated by licensees in 24 countries.

In its most recent second quarter, net income almost halved to $21.2m from $41.6m a year earlier, while revenue increased 3% to US$845m. Gross margin declined 240 basis points, mainly as a result of the promotional environment in the US.

Meanwhile, the US$41bn Aditya Birla Group, is an Indian multinational conglomerate, headquartered in Mumbai, India. The company's retail operations extends through 900 retail stores and 6,000 additional points of sale.