In 1998, when Remanika started in this space there were hardly few players in this segment, however, now we have nearly 24 major Indian brands in this segments along with 10-12 international brands which are moving fast to occupy this space. No wonder, brands like Zara, Mango and Esprit are increasing their presence in the country. This is also helping in pushing up awareness about western wear in the country.
About a decade back women in 40s never used to wear western-wear, but now in metropolitan cities, women even in their mid- to late 40s and 50s prefer western-wear. However, in smaller cities, it is still the teenage and the college-going girls who have adopted the western style. Interestingly, this trend is also changing quite fast as cities like Lucknow, Nagpur, and Bhopal etc. are gradually switching to western-wear.
Gone are the days when ladies used to wear only ethnic wear on festivals. Even during celebration of festivals like Diwali, ladies go for Kurti with denim jeans. Actually, Indian customers celebrate regional festivals and have stipulated times for shoppings such as during Durgapuja in Bengal, Navrati in Gujarat, Onam in Kerala, Diwali in North-India. In addition, there are cities viz Bangalore, Hyderabad, Pune, Vishakhapatnam, Nasik, Chandigarh etc. which are now turned cosmopolitan cities, and their population celebrates all festivals. Also earlier party-wear seasons used to be only in Mumbai. However, now Bangalore, Delhi, Hyderabad and Kolkata have also joined the trend.
All this explains why modern retail stores are stocking up western-wear even in smaller towns. Earlier in large format stores, menswear stock compared to ladieswear stock used to be around 53% and 47% respectively. However, since last one year, the ladieswear share is more.
Large format stores are allotting over 50% of the shelf space to western-wear and other 50% for ethnic and accessories. Increasing urban woman population as well as corporate female workforce is leading to growth in women's western-wear, remarkably.Therefore, loads of Indian big brands which were in formal segment have now included western-wear and are signing Bollywood heroines to promote their brands as marketing strategy.
Besides, another change which marks the Indian retail scene is- consumers are always waiting for off sales or End- of- Season Sales (EOSS). Therefore, peak season has now reduced to 3-4 months, and retailers go on such discounted sales for 2 months. In current scenario EOSS is early this time. Consumers come to store and ask for EOSS dates. Factors behind such trends are inflation or say increase of price in everything around. The price rise has major effect on consumers’ mind and restricts them to cautious or scarce spends.
One of the most important challenges we will face is to find right kind of front-end sales men. As we are opening outlets in smaller cities, quality workforce is hard to find. Secondly, as more world class retailers come to India, hiring cost will touch the roof, thus increasing cost of operations.