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Has the sheen rubbed of Indian apparel retail sector?
Jul '12
Mr Shitanshu Jhunjhunwalla
Mr Shitanshu Jhunjhunwalla
Considering that seasonal sales discounts have begun well before their due time this year and with many apparel retailers facing financial problems. Has the sheen rubbed off the much-hyped clothing retail industry?

“There was never a sheen factor to begin with in the Indian retail scenario”, says, Mr Shitanshu Jhunjhunwalla, Director of the Kolkata-based - Turtle Limited. Set up in 1993, Turtle has bagged numerous accolades and awards. Among many it has bagged the “Best brand in the shirt category” award from Texcellance.

He explains, “The rentals for properties are very high in India and retail is a very challenging business where a very few players make profits. I think that there was a lot of buzz and hype initially in the country with a lot of investors, equity placements, new property development, new brand expansions, etc.

“But if we look at the scenario now when most of these new brands have gone out of business and a lot of malls are struggling to for full occupancy, the message is loud and clear - retail like any business is hard work and a challenge.

“A lot of PE investors have also burnt their hands in this process thus taking out most of the sheen from the industry. However, the future continues to remain bright for retail – as the brands that have got their act right are doing well across the country and are recognized for it”.

Many Indian apparel brands and retailers who expanded furiously in the last few years have fallen by the way side today, mired by financial troubles and non-performing assets.

Mr Jhunjhunwalla enlightens us by saying, “Most of the Indian apparel retailers chose to take the short-term route to grow their brands. They continued to expand across the country with no particular strategy or direction in mind and a lot of wrong decisions were made on the way.

“Most of the retailers were more marketing centric and lost focus on the most important bit – the product itself. According to me, if retailers begin to understand the importance of delivering good quality products consistently in the market, they can sustain for the long-haul”, he winds up by saying.

Fibre2fashion News Desk - India

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