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Indian apparel retailers prepone end of season sales
Jul '12
Several apparel retailers in India have began their end of season sales in earnest after witnessing weak sales during the summer season.
Arrow, FCUK, Fila, French Connection, Guess, Louis Philippe, Puma, Regal and Van Heusen are some of the brands that have already started offering discounts to consumers, much earlier than the usual August and September months for their end of the season sales (EOSS).
Explaining the rationale, behind the idea of preponing discount sales by garment firms, to fibre2fashion, Mr. Harminder Sahni, Managing Director of Wazir Advisors, said, “The sales in the current season have been really bad. Hence, rather than waiting for the season to end and then panic and sell, the retailers are becoming proactive and are trying to have a longer sales season.”
Mr. Rahul Mehta, President of the Clothing Manufacturers’ Association of India (CMAI), opines, “Having burnt their fingers in the last 2-3 seasons, the apparel brands were a little cautious this season. But this year will not be as dramatic as the last two EOSS because brands are not offering too many discounts this time, which in the long run is very good for the industry.”
Actually, a similar trend of starting EOSS early was seen during the winter season as well. “This trend is here to stay as Indian market becomes more like western markets wherein the sales and promotions by leading brands and retailers are an ongoing phenomenon and not a once in a year event,” says Mr. Sahni.
“Indian brands and retailers are slowly moving towards the trend seen in Western markets. So, while we will still have big EOSS there will always be sales and promotions during the season, too, to proactively get more footfalls and conversion and also to grab market share from competition,” adds Mr. Sahni.
In fact, the apparel retail sector in India has grown tremendously from being a Rs. 500 billion market in 2000 to Rs. 5000 billion market in 2012.
“The apparel retail sector is the largest part of India’s organized retail and has led the emergence of organized retail in India. Although the sector has fared very well, many players have not performed well. The market is still evolving and we will see many pains, but the overall and medium to long term prospects are very exciting,” avers Mr. Sahni.
He predicts that over the next five years, womenswear and online retail will be the spaces to watch for in the Indian apparel retail sector. 
In developed world, womenswear is the largest category in apparel, but in India, men’s category has been the leading category so far. “But from now on, womenswear will take the lead and grow faster than menswear in India,” says Mr. Sahni.
In the US, apparels have the largest share of 13 percent in online transactions in consumer goods category. However, in India apparels account for only 3.5 percent share of transactions. “With increasing penetration of Internet, and acceptance of online retail as well as launch of online apparel brands and retailers, we will see a huge surge in numbers in this segment,” opines Mr. Sahni.

Fibre2fashion News Desk - India

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