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India Is Poised to Be Fashion's New Muse
CNBC.com | December 01, 2011 | 02:47 PM EST

Move aside New York, Paris, and London. India may be quickly rising to fashion's front row.

This week, India opened its doors to foreign retailers in a move that is expected to open the floodgates to western brands entering the skyrocketing Indian market.

Unlike in the past, overseas retailers will now be allowed foreign ownership in India at a 51 percent rate for multi-brand retailers like Wal-Mart Stores and Tesco , and at 100 percent for retailers with a single brand. This is a first for the large retail chains like Wal-Mart and Tesco, who are welcoming the flexible business models.

Stores like Salvatore Ferragamo and LVMH’s Louis Vuitton have been inching into the vast Indian fashion market for some time. But until now, most of these stores have been found in five-star hotels or in one of the only two luxury malls DLF’s Emporio in New Delhi and Bangalore. In the past, these single-brand retailers have had partnerships with different joint ventures with 51 percent FDI limits, which means their Indian partners like Reliance Group, TATA Group and Adithya Birla received a cut of the profits.

But this new policy will be a "game changer" for the retail industry in India, says Michael Moriarty, vice president and partner at A.T. Kearney, a retail consulting firm.

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