It may take a few quarters for apparel sales to get back to normal, says Gautam Singhania, Chairman and Managing Director, Raymond. Singhania believes, “March will be watershed month leading to 100 per cent recovery”. Sales are improving as more people get vaccinated and step out.
Weekend sales are back to pre-COVID levels as consumers are willing to come out and spend on good things. Rebound in Tier II and III cities is higher as these were less impacted by the pandemic, adds Singhania. The company is present in towns that have 50,000 people and a distribution network that goes to over 500 towns.
Low impact of increasing raw-material prices on apparel business
As raw material pricing forms a lower percentage of the product overall costs, a rise in cotton prices will not impact the company’s apparel business, adds Singhania. He agrees that input costs are increasing and brands have to take this in their stride. Recovery in the apparel business is slow and it may take a couple of more quarters for things to get back to normal, he adds.
Buyers moving away from China
US customers are moving away from China to India, says Singhania. He affirms, US customers would look to India as an alternative to China. Businesses in the country are back to pre-COVID and the company has strong order book, adds Singhania.
In future, the company aims to recover apparel sales and remains cautiously optimistic. However, Raymond has recovered over 75 per cent of physical apparel sales and does not plan to continue with online operations.