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Apparel retailers forced to go for early discount season

Vinay Umarji  |  Mumbai/ Ahmedabad 

A dull retail market in the month of May has forced apparel retailers like Arvind Brands and Madura to pre-pone the 'end-of-season' discount sales by almost a month. What used to be offered in the month of July has already begun since the second week of June.

For instance, Arvind Lifestyle has begun offering a 20-40 per cent discount rightaway in June for its Arrow brand.

"We are yet to begin offering discounts for other brands. But due to sluggish sales in May, our peers had begun offering discounts in the formal men's wear, especially shirting category. Therefore, we also had to begin offering 20-40 per cent discounts on Arrow since June itself," said J Suresh, CEO, Arvind Lifestyle.

As peers of Arrow, Van Heusen and Louis Philippe also started offering discounts much early than the normal period of July.

"Usually normal summer sales go on till June and hence 'end-of-season' sales begin in July. But this year May didn't see much of sales in apparels. This forced many apparel manufacturers and retailers to work on discounts even before the summer literally ended," said Rahul Mehta, president of Clothing Manufacturers Association of India (CMAI).

On his part, Mehta also launched discounted sales much early in the first week of June for his women's wear brand 109F. "Also, since it is a bit early to launch discount sales, they are not being termed as 'end-of-the-season' sales. What's more, according to Mehta, the discount sales are being offered equally by international and domestic apparel brands in June," he added.

According to Suresh, the discounts have, however, been similar to last year even as the industry is hopeful early launch of discount sales will help retailers ease out their inventories.

Adding to their woes of sluggish summer sales is the fact that apparel manufactures fear there will be a supply crunch in the upcoming festive season as leading mills in Ahmedabad are on strike. They are already facing a problem in procuring fabrics for making apparel since such procurement for upcoming festive season begins around this time.

"We have already been affected due to the current slowdown, going forward if the strike continues it there is a huge possibility that there will be a supply crunch in the market, specially during the festive season," said Mehta earlier.

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First Published: Mon, July 02 2012. 00:30 IST