GlobalData’s senior apparel analyst Pippa Stephens believes ASOS can bolster its visibility through its partnership with Reliance Retail by leveraging the strong brand awareness and positive perceptions among Indian consumers.

She explained that Asos’ deal with Reliance includes the introduction of exclusive brand stores, which will be its first foray into permanent standalone locations.

This, she said, is a sensible move given India’s online market is less developed than in Western countries, only accounting for 24.0% of apparel sales in 2023. However, the digital channel is rapidly growing, making the inclusion of e-commerce platforms in the deal a wise decision.

GlobalData projects the Indian market will grow at a CAGR of 5.2% between 2023 and 2028. Fashion retailers are tapping into this potential, as evidenced by British retailer Next’s expansion into India through a franchise agreement with Myntra in April 2024.

Stephens noted: “India’s growing economy and rising middle-class means consumers have higher discretionary incomes to spend on apparel, and it is also becoming increasingly urbanised, with city shoppers more inclined to keep up with the latest fashion trends.”

Partnership gives Asos wider audience in India

Under a long-term licensing agreement, Reliance Retail will be Asos’ exclusive retail partner across all online and offline channels in India.

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Reliance Retail, leveraging its extensive omnichannel retail experience, plans to introduce Asos’ curated portfolio of fashion-led own-brand labels to the Indian market through a multi-channel presence. This includes launching Asos through various retail formats, such as exclusive brand stores, multi-brand store expressions and digital commerce platforms.

Reliance said Asos’s status as an online fashion destination aligns with its position as India’s largest omni-channel retail networks. It claimed the partnership will “revolutionise the way Indian consumers discover and engage with the latest global fashion trends.”

Isha Ambani, director of Reliance Retail Ventures Limited, said: “We’re excited to welcome Asos into our fashion family, marking a significant stride in our dedication to bringing the pulse of global trends to Indian shores. This partnership reaffirms our status as India’s premier retail destination, ensuring our customers have access to the cutting-edge fashion styles they crave.”

José Antonio Ramos, CEO of Asos, added: “Our purpose is to give fashion lovers around the world the confidence to be whoever they want to be through access to the latest and best trends. Together with Reliance Retail, we’re excited to be bringing some of our fashion-led own-brands to customers in India – including Asos Design, one of the biggest British fashion brands on the planet.”

This agreement is Asos’ first country-wide exclusive retail partnership.

In April 2024, Asos reported a decrease in sales due to its efforts to reorganise stock, which included a 30% reduction in stock intake year-on-year to “right size” stock levels and clear out old inventory.