It’s been a very cold winter this year, but winter wear makers are feeling snug and warm as their business has done well. Bug bears like high costs of labor, excise duty on branded apparels, slow economy and low consumer demand did not seem to affect their business too much with many manufacturers reporting sell out orders.
Winter wear brands are cashing in on the opportunity by offering basic as well as trendy and colourful apparels to meet the season’s requirements. From jackets to suits, sweaters to thermals, the wide collections on offer, by both the upscale brand stores and the street hawkers are trying their best to grab eyeballs. As Amol Dhillon, VP, Strategic Planning, Aero Group known for their brand Woodland says, “The season even though it’s short, contributes more to the proportionate revenue generated due to the higher price points of the winter line as compared to summers.” Agrees Kuntal Raj Jain, Director, Duke Fashion, “Our last festive season was good and this season is going to be much better than last year as we have created half a million pieces in sweaters. We are looking forward to becoming the No 1 one brand in sweaters by next winter. Top brands and retailers like Woodland, Monte Carlo, ITC Wills Lifestyle, Shoppers Stop and Spencer’s Retail expect 20-50 per cent jump in sales this season.
However analysts caution even though business is more profitable in winters, the cycle is complicated as developing products for the season itself can keep one occupied for 12 months as product sampling booking and production goes on round the year. However, a brand like Giovani, which is primarily active in the suit segment, is looking to increasing sales by 35 to 40 per cent this season. And Blues Clothing Company that retails premium brands like Versace, Corneliani, Cadini et al has put together a lot of new offerings for the season.
Though the actual size of the winter wear market in India is not known, the shawl segment in India is estimated to be around Rs 1,000 to Rs 1,500 crores with a 25-30 per cent growth rate, the sweater segment is growing at 15 to 20 per cent with brands holding 25 per cent of the market, overall men’s suits, jackets and blazers segment is said to be worth Rs 4,100 crores, which is 8.9 per cent of the total men’s wear market. And it’s growing at a CAGR of 16 per cent and is expected to reach Rs 7,400 crores by 2012. The branded suit industry in India is estimated at Rs 1,000 crores and growing at a good pace of 20 to 25 per cent per annum. In terms of volume, this market is worth 1.5 crore pieces, which is 1 per cent of the total men’s wear market. It is expected to grow to 2.1 crore pieces by 2012. And rough estimates suggest that there exists a market for 10 million pieces of thermal wear in India annually, with majority share occupied by the unorganized sector.
Estimates suggest that most segments in winter wear are registering a double digit growth. No wonder, winter wear is seen as a lucrative business proposition, despite facing various issues like infrastructure, labour costs to name a few. Aspects like investment in new technologies, keeping updated with international trends have further helped in boosting the industry.