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The global retail market is going through a challenging phase, the very high end is not that affected, the very low end is struggling with margins ...
Nishat Mills Limited is a flagship company of Pakistan established in 1951. It has grown from the cotton export house to premier business group comprising five listed companies and four core businesses in textiles, cement, banking and power generation.
The Company comprises of five production facilities spinning, weaving, processing, stitching and power generation. It has latest state-of-the-art textile processing with two stitching units.
In an exclusive interview to Face2Face, Naz Mansha, shares an overview on opportunities and challenges in the global retail market.
Mrs. Naz Mansha is the Chairperson of Nishat Mills Limited. She established and ensures smooth running of the stitching business of this group. Moreover, she manages and operates various retail outlets around the country and overseas under the brand name of ‘Nishat Linen’. In addition, she is the Chairperson of DG Khan Cement Company Limited.
Which elements you would address that need to be in vogue broadly so as to meet with the latest trends and demands in your native country and in the global market?
Locally, Nishat has a respectable name and long history of product development and high quality and customer satisfaction. Nishat would have to continue to keep ahead of changing trends and local preferences to remain relevant. The strategy here is to expand into the smaller cities of Pakistan to gain complete coverage of the country. The target is to move from 50 to 100 locations in three years.
Internationally, we are a new comer in the retail space. We have had tremendous response from our initial entry into the Gulf, especially the city of Dubai. We have had to constantly add to our product offerings, adding more made ups and accessories and create a more balanced mix of east and western tastes. We intend to keep adding location on our own in the beginning to gain more knowledge and confidence as well as to create a viable distribution system. In later stages we may intend to grow through a franchise system. Currently we are discussing possibilities for such arrangements in EU and North America.
Your company began with textile manufacturing and further stepped into fashion retail chains. How comprehensive do you see the apparel retail market, both in Pakistan as well as globally?
The global retail market is going through a challenging phase, the very high end is not that affected, the very low end is struggling with margins as recent raw material price hikes have shaken their traditional price points and the middle range where the majority of the brands exist who outsource most of their products from Asia are just stuck. They need a lot more innovation and differentiation to keep their customers as the era of ever decreasing prices is over.
Locally, I would say that Pakistan and other South Asian nations are going through a textile and fashion boom. With the size and affluence of their middle class rising, the purchase numbers have very high growth rates. Nishat operates in the women and kids segments with a limited offering in menswear. Lawn Fabric has been the main product range which has seen tremendous growth. It has gone from a basic cotton product just used as casual wear to a fashion product for all seasons and all occasions. We have 100's of new entrants come into the market each year, although most will not succeed yet more keep coming each season. It is quite a challenging environment, yet it is by far the best time in the local fashion industry
As a leading country, which aspects enliven textile industry in Pakistan?
Pakistan textile industry has developed into a leading supplier of textiles on the back of a robust cotton sector and its consistent investment into state of the art technology. Our spinning, weaving, finishing sectors have the most up to date machinery available today. Our recent focus of selling ready for shelf products for leading brands of the world has given Pakistani companies a unique insight into the branded business.
I think the future of the industry; especially Nishat Mills will have to create its own brands and create niche product offerings where price alone is not the only determining factor for sales. I think it’s Warren Buffet who said that companies that can successfully buy commodities and sell brands have an insurmountable competitive advantage and that is what we want at Nishat. Since the bulk of our business is commodities, we are a long way from that goal.
Various processes in the textile industry like dyeing, bleaching etc. play a major role. How far the healthy and green environment is essential along with it? How do you see this industry playing a responsible role widely?
This is one of the most important aspects of our business in our opinion. We live in a global community and sell to it as well. We cannot expect to be irresponsible towards the environment and the health of our customers and still achieve long term healthy returns. Having said that, there is a large part of our industry, which does not have the size or knowledge to successfully implement these strategies.
At Nishat, we are very careful about the sources of our dyes and chemicals as well as the amount of water we consume and treat. We have chemical recovery and water treatment plants at sight to keep the discharges from our factories under internationally accepted standards. We have many international certificates in this regard and supplement the focus through regular internal and external audits.
Our latest endeavor is to move to a power generation model which uses agriculture waste to produce steam and power used in our processing factories. This would substantially reduce out furnace oil consumption.
What kind of properties we can see bringing innovation in the areas of clothing?
As far as Nishat is concerned, innovation begins from our spinning section, where performance attributes are built into the yarn to successfully produce final products through an integrated manufacturing system. These products range from fashion fabrics for women to technical textile and high end durable uniforms for various militaries of the world.
The research into better materials and production techniques along with an innovative marketing and supply chain management will create the advantage, Nishat is trying to establish by getting ever closer to the end customer. This way we can be more responsive to the future needs of our customers.
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