For Ludhiana’s knitwear manufacturing industry, nothing could have been more convenient than having their customers gather under one roof for bookings and sampling. This has been possible by LAKMA and KAMAL exhibitions expos held concurrently from 12th-16th May, 2012, at Ludhiana every year.
Commenting on this year’s chapter which commenced with a fabulous response, Rakesh Jain, Finance Secretary, Ludhiana Apparel & Knitwear Manufacturers Association (LAKMA), says, “The response to the fair has exceeded our expectations. Manufacturers and dealers are getting everything on one platform.” According to Jain, there were about 3000 visitors a day at the fair, turning around the bad winter sales and hurt sentiments witnessed last year. In fact, last year’s response had led Sandeep Wadhwa, Secretary, LAKMA, to hold back from anticipating a good number of visitors. However, “We had some customers from Mumbai, Hyderabad and Chennai too,” informs Wadhwa.
The Knitwear and Apparel Manufacturers Association of Ludhiana fair (KAMAL), which started five years back, too, witnessed 15 per cent increase in the number of buyers. Objective of KAMAL was to shift the center of bookings from Delhi to Ludhiana making it convenient for India’s hub of knitwear in Ludhiana and making the business faster than otherwise. “We have got a very good response; customers from all over India have attended KAMAL. We next plan to invite international buyers too. Compared to last year the number of customers has grown by 20 percent. Ludhiana’s business is growing,” says Parveen Korpal, director of the brand De-Mark and KAMAL’s trustee.
Both the expos have given Ludhiana brands an exposure that was the need of the hour, boosting their business in the winterwear market. Confirming the potential these expos hold, Wadhwa said, “Some of our brands have grown in the last year. We have had 15 to 20 per cent growth in women’s knitwear and 10 to 15 per cent growth in kids’ section.”
“The market is still under the shadow of recession but hopefully from July to December market sentiments will improve. I see a positive energy. Manufacturers and retailers have started understanding the issues,” says Narinder Miglani, General Secretary, Knitwear Club, one of the largest and the oldest knitwear associations in Ludhiana. Meanwhile Arun Jain, Director of the brand Her Grace and the Buyers Sellers Meet Association, has been glad to see the bookings on full swing. While he admitted that market is slack, he also pointed out that the footfalls had exceeded by 70 to 80 per cent. “The last two seasons were below par. But everyone hopes this winter is good,” he said.
LAKMA Expo’s success has prompted the organizers to next tie up with the Ministry of Industry and Commerce. “Right now the fair’s at a national level. We want to take manufacturers to the world so that they get exposure to world trends, technical knowhow etc.” says Jain. Talking about KAMAL expo, Sudershan Jain says, “In future, we would like to receive more exhibitors and participants. We would like exhibitors from other cities.” He also said that there are plans for expos for summer wear, “Normally a show such as this one is held internationally in January or February. We hold it two or three months later. Summer fairs are held internationally in July or August and we hold it in November or December.”