Foot Locker to step into India, inks deals with Metro Brands, Nykaa

By Hritam Mukherjee

BENGALURU (Reuters) -Foot Locker will enter the Indian market in 2024 in partnership with local peer Metro Brands and cosmetics-to-fashion retailer Nykaa, the U.S.-based athleisure chain said on Wednesday, giving it a much wider global footprint.

Metro Brands, which has over 700 stores across India, will exclusively own and operate Foot Locker stores in the country and focus on selling shoes from brands such as Nike and Adidas.

Nykaa Fashion, owned by FSN E-Commerce Ventures, will operate Foot Locker’s India website and also sell authorized merchandise on a Foot Locker branded shop on its platform.

“Inking a deal with a company that pioneered the sneaker culture globally is a big positive for Metro Brands. Getting into more contemporary segments and bringing foreign brands through their stores is strategically a right step in the right direction,” said Amnish Aggarwal, research analyst at Prabhudas Lilladher.

Foot Locker’s entry into the Indian market comes at a time when it is struggling with sticky inflation, spending cutbacks and elevated inventories in its home market.

The company’s stock has lost 40% of its value this year.

“These agreements will enable Foot Locker to efficiently access the large and growing sneaker market in India,” the company said in a statement while forecasting a smaller-than-expected decline in its fourth-quarter comparable sales.

Rising affluence in India and a shift in consumer spend from mom-and-pop stores to bigger chains have made India an attractive destination for foreign brands.

Earlier this year, Indian media reported rival Bata India is in partnership talks with Adidas, potentially dialing up competition between footwear sellers in the South Asian country.

(Reporting by Hritam Mukherjee and Varun Vyas in Bengaluru; Editing by Pooja Desai and Tasim Zahid)