Festive shopping: Apparel sales up, beat slowdown blues

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Published: October 24, 2019 1:48:25 AM

Fabindia, which claims to have had a good Durga Puja and Ganesh Chaturthi, is looking at about 15% sales growth year-on-year this Diwali.

Vasanth Kumar, MD at Lifestyle International, claimed sales so far are up in double digits. Rather than discounts, the Bengaluru-based retailer is offering gifts — like home appliances, gadgets, winter blankets and cookware — for high-value purchases.

They may not be buying too many homes or cars this Diwali but consumers aren’t averse to replenishing their wardrobes. Indeed having realised this, retailers are rolling out discounts and freebies to woo buyers into their stores. So far, the response to the attractive deals has been decent, they say, even if buyers aren’t exactly splurging.

Going by the trend so far, Rajeev Malla, CEO at Mumbai’s R City Malls, expects this year’s Diwali sales to register a growth of more than 10% over last year. To be sure, many shoppers are addicted to buying online and the Metro construction on LBS Marg is a turn-off, but consumers seem to be braving the traffic. “We’re expecting footfalls to be about 10% more than they were last year,” Malla said.

Consumers are spending on electronics, food and beverage, footwear, bags, kids wear, designer wear, sports items and cosmetics, Malla added. “This year our focus is more on doing quality events, customer led engagements, category promotions, which will drive higher spends,” he said.Fashion retailer Biba said it is seeing an increase of 10-12% in like-to-like store sales growth and a rise of nearly 20% in overall growth this festive season compared with the previous year.

MD Siddhartha Bindra pointed out, shoppers do tend to spend considerably on new clothes and products, during festivals. “There could be a dip in the total spend but irrespective of the slowdown, consumers are going to spend on stylish, trendy and fresh products,” Bindra added. Biba, whose sales surge typically during weddings and festivals, focuses on special decor and engages with customers through in-store activity like inviting make-up artists for patrons.

Japanese retailer Uniqlo, a newcomer to the Indian market with its first store having opened about three weeks ago in New Delhi’s Ambience Mall, said denims continue to be popular with customers. “Products like ultra-light down jackets, fleece outerwear are in strong demand and customers are gearing for the winter season,” the firm’s India spokesperson said. The retailer is giving gifts for purchases beyond a certain value.

Fabindia, which claims to have had a good Durga Puja and Ganesh Chaturthi, is looking at about 15% sales growth year-on-year this Diwali. The retailer’s experience centres that give customers a first-hand feel of products across categories seem to have helped. Ajay Kapoor, president, (retail), Fabindia, said the company launched 14 experience centres before Diwali.

Vasanth Kumar, MD at Lifestyle International, claimed sales so far are up in double digits. Rather than discounts, the Bengaluru-based retailer is offering gifts — like home appliances, gadgets, winter blankets and cookware — for high-value purchases.

Beauty and wellness chain VLCC told FE footfalls so far are up about 14% this festive season. “Historically, our footfalls start increasing September onwards with the onset of Durga Puja,” a company spokesperson said. The same trend has been witnessed for our VLCC personal care products, retailed across India, the firm added.

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