13th September 2021, Mumbai:
Barely had apparel retailers in India recovered from the first COVID-19 wave, the second wave plunged the industry into darkness. Retailers are now look at the upcoming festive season to boost demand.
If, as assumed, the industry is not hit by the third wave in November, it is likely to grow 10 per cent over pre-COVID levels, says Kumar Rajagopalan, CEO, Retailers Association of India. Retailers Raymond and Lifestyle also expect the industry to grow in double-digits this festive season.
Festive sales to grow 50 per cent over 2020 A spokesperson from Raymond said, there are enough signs indicating demand revival this festive season. The industry is likely to grow in double digits compared to pre-COVID levels and 50 per cent over the festive season of 2020. Most of this growth will be driven by the extended festive season this year followed by the wedding season.
Markets in eastern India will also see strong growth during upcoming Durga Puja, opines Deverjana Iyer, CEO, Lifestyle Stores. Retailer hopes to clock a double-digit growth as sales pick up week-on-week. Beginning with Ganesh Chaturthi in September and ending in early January with Christmas and New Year, the festive season will witness strong growth in demand for apparels, affirms Sanjay Jain, CEO, PDS Multinational Fashions, which is seeing a strong recovery across all its markets.
The prelude to this growth was witnessed during the Onam festival last month that witnessed good demand despite restrictions in Kerala. Even Eid and Rakhi sales indicated a strong revival in demand. The demand witnessed during these festivals indicated customers’ desire to celebrate after being shut down for two years, adds Umashan Naidoo, Head-Customer, Westside.
Growth to be led by ethnic wear
Growth during the upcoming festive season will be led by ethnic wear and occasion wear across men, women and kids wear, adds Naidoo. He believes demand for casual wear and loungwear will also grow as staycations get bigger. Online sales will aid to this growth with most consumers moving to online platforms for purchases.
Acceleration in vaccination will boost store footfalls though online sales will also grow, adds Jain whose company PDS has already shifted to online portals for shopping over the last 18 months. However, a possible third wave could dampen prospects for the retail industry if COVID-19 cases continue to rise and fresh restrictions are imposed. Retailers are adopting a cautious approach and not adding too much inventory. They are also working with suppliers to ensure smooth deliveries, adds Kumar. They do not wish to be saddled with unsold stocks like last year, he signs off.
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