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Apparel retailing industry battling for survival

Jan '09
The textile and apparel industry in India tots up to around US $52 billion, with exports accounting for $20.5 billion and the rest of the pie accounted for by domestic markets. According to a recent survey, apparels purchasing accounts for nearly 17 percent of the Indian consumer, with foods and groceries coming a close second.

According to another study, organized retailing across all categories accounts for only 25 percent of all sales with un-organized retailing accounting for the rest. Many domestic and global companies had forayed in to the apparels retail category on hopes of grabbing a major chunk of the mouthwatering untapped organized apparel retailing pie.

Many apparel retailers had planned of foraying in to small towns to tap this market which carries immense potential. But since the unfolding of the global economic crisis, the whole Indian retail industry has been caught on a back foot, the apparel retail industry in particular.

Major plans of retailers to size up their store count have been put on hold. Unviable store shutdowns and lay-offs have become the order of the day, compared to the situation a few months back, when it was becoming increasingly difficult to source trained manpower, to man the increasing number of apparel stores opening across the country.

It has now become a struggle for survival as footfalls are increasingly going down. The apparel retail store owners are increasingly resorting to innovative schemes and discounting tactics to attract the elusive customer. Loyalty schemes are becoming the order of the day to retain consumer loyalty.

But for every dark cloud, there are silver linings in the horizon. Recently Bennett Coleman & Company Ltd (BCCL), the publishers of the Times of India, has picked up a stake, which has not been disclosed, in apparel retail firm Priknit Retail Ltd, which operates 300 stores across 160 towns and cities and is also involved in the manufacturing of garments.

Another recent announcement came from United Retail, exporter of children's clothing, of its intention to invest Rs 500 million to set up 80 stores across the country to market their kids wear brand Urban10.

Fibre2fashion News Desk - India

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