The ongoing lockdown imposed to contain coronavirus pandemic will only have a short-term sales impact on apparel industry, while softening commodity prices will support overall profitability during the current fiscal, according to a top official of Raymond Ltd. The branded fabric and fashion retailer also expects a gradual pick up across various retail formats once normalcy returns after the lockdown is lifted.
“As we are all aware that due to the lockdown in the entire country, all our point of sales are shut impacting our business in short term. However, we are confident that once the lockdown period is over, the sales would gradually pick up across various retail formats in the country,” Sanjay Bahl, CFO, Raymond Group told PTI.
According to a PTI report: He, however, said it is not all gloom and doom for the sector.
“While there is a slump in demand due to the pandemic, commodity prices have softened which would support in the overall profitability during the current fiscal,” Bahl was further quoted by PTI as saying.
When asked if apparel retailers are in for heavy discount sales once the lockdown is over to clear stocks, he told PTI, “As the current situation is highly unpredictable, we have to wait and see how things unfold in the coming weeks.
“The month of May might witness some consumer promos as brands will try to make up for the lost sales. We do expect an early onset of end of season sales akin to what happened during GST implementation in the country.”
Bahl, however, said this will be a great opportunity to break away from the season mentality that is a western concept and not very viable in the Indian context.
“Taking into account the immense volatility that requires prior commitments of 8 to 9 months in advance, Indian brands could think about creating products much closer to the season then following the regular sales cycle,” he was quoted by PTI as saying.
On suggestions that online sales would increase with people preferring to stay home to avoid store visits due to fear psychosis of the pandemic, he told PTI, “While it might take some time for physical stores to be out of the lockdown impact, there might be some traction on the online channels for a short term”.
Till the time life returns to normalcy and consumer sentiment bounces back to pre-pandemic levels, Bahl told PTI, “It is hence pertinent for retailers to leverage e-commerce and Omnichannel for effective inventory management”.
On store expansions, he said that in the current scenario, it would be premature to comment on store expansion at this stage as the market dynamics will evolve once the lockdown is over.
Raymond has already deeply penetrated in India with presence in over 600 towns through 20,000 point of sales, he said.