COVID-19 outbreak has affected not just the textile industry but the entire economy. Shutting of retail stores wiped away businesses. Around 33 million people from across the world have suffered due to the pandemic, said Gautam Singhania, Chairman and Managing Director, Raymond Group in a recent media interview. It has also affected MSME and daily workers. To survive, one needs to adopt the ‘Be Indian, Buy Indian’ policy, he opines. And manufacturers should focus on the growing domestic market and shift production base to India.
Robust sales post lockdown
Retail sales have been increasing every week since the lifting of the COVID-19 lockdown. Earlier too, Raymond would organize company sale during the shraddha season but this year, the company’s sales during the season have been higher than previous year. There has been a week-on-week increase in sales in September itself.
Singhania believes, apparel manufacturing will increase when consumption in the country go up. For this, the economy needs to open up first as the lockdown is hurting both employment and manufacturing in the country. In the last 25-30 years, stronger brands have grown stronger. Twenty-five years ago, the Indian textile fabric sector had 20 brands. Today many brands in the top 20 brands are from the Raymond Group, he adds.
Social distancing vs total lockdown
Warning against a repeat of total lockdown, Singhania says, European countries are focusing on social distancing rather lockdowns. Therefore, the government should opt for total lockdown only if the virus spreads beyond control. Shedding light on the growing resentment against Chinese products not just in India but across the world, Singhania says, earlier, apparel manufacturers would readily source products from China but now they plan to diversify their sourcing options. They no longer want to source products from China. This situation offers India a golden opportunity to a favorite sourcing destination of manufacturers. If we do not capitalize on this opportunity now, we might lose it forever, he says. Broadening horizons
Spreading its wings post COVID-19, Raymond has just completed its first real estate project. The group is also making FMCG products like floor sanitizer, surface sanitizer, and hand sanitizer, among others. Singhania feels, PPE offers a great opportunity for the group and it plans to capitalize on this.