With a view to beat an overall slump in the fabrics market and resonate well with young consumers, especially millennials, fabric and apparel major Raymond Ltd has shifted its focus to bringing in a lot of innovation, in terms of product offering, into its suiting business.
Suitings typically refer to fabrics used for making blazers, coats, jackets, suits and trousers. Apart from suitings, the other segments under textiles division include shirtings (fabrics for making shirts), made-to-measure garments and exports.
While Raymond still has a near 60 per cent market share in the Rs. 18,000-crore suitings segment, the overall Indian suiting business has seen a slowdown over the years as people opted for more readymade garments.
“Apparel as a category is anyway much bigger than suitings because of consumer preference. There has been a slowdown in the overall suiting market and it is same for us as well. Currently, our suiting business is growing in single digit, mainly due to sluggish economic growth, while apparel business growth is in double digits,” Vice President, Head Sales & Distribution – Textile, Raymond Ltd, Ram Bhatnagar, told Indiaretailing Bureau on the sidelines of Woolmark’s Wool Conclave.
However, suitings are and will remain a significant division for Raymond added Bhatnagar.
“So, while the overall suiting market is growing at 3-4 per cent, we are at 6-7 per cent. And this is mainly because we are doing a lot of innovation in the suitings space which is widening our consumers base and ultimately driving our growth.”
For instance, over the last one year, the company has launched and explored new offerings focussing on functionality. In March this year, it launched its ‘technosmart’ brand of fabrics which is targeted at corporate travelers and has features like UV protection, wrinkle resistance, and smooth touch, which are ideal for crafting trousers, suits, and jackets.
Raymond now says that the response has been phenomenal and it is one of the greatest success stories for the company.
“Over the years, we have realised that we can’t do much about the change in consumer preferences and mindsets but that we can certainly make our product even more appealing by adding features consumers love and that’s how we come up with our techno series,” Bhatnagar said.
“Our techno series has been received so well by all the consumers, especially young user base. Over the last few months, we have acquired lot of new customers who got excited by the feature and has asked for trails. The range has already become a 150 crore category for us and it has now become a standalone brand for Raymond,” he added.
The company is also looking to come up with the new product ranges in the techno series like techno stretch.
“The idea is to make techno series as big a brand as The Complete Man,” Bhatnagar said.
The company which currently manufacture textiles from three manufacturing unit; Chhindwara in Central India, Vapi in Gujarat, near Mumbai and Jalgaon in Maharashtra is also ramping up its production capacity. It has in Feb this year invested Rs 450 crore in a new textile unit at Nandgaon Peth in Amravati district in Vidarbha. The plant will have an annual capacity of 20 million metres of cotton fabric.
Raymond is also looking to strengthen its brand presence in the Middle East and South Asian countries as part of its overseas push.
Raymond products already get acceptance in 55 countries and now it has opened an office in Dubai, which would look after the Middle Eastern markets.