With the advent of the year 2021, more people went out shopping for the new apparels, innerwear and footwear. Earlier last year, with Covid-19 outbreak, people had slowed their shopping for clothes. However, with the beginning of this year, more and more people were seen to be getting interested in new clothes and footwear. For the last quarter of FY21, apparel stores witnessed almost 100 per cent recovery, said brokerage firm Anand Rathi in a recent report. Retailers saw near normal consumer behaviour during January- March this year; fresh merchandise was also launched by the brands during the three-month period. The report added this is expected to be the result of pent-up demand from last year.
With rise in clothing sales, especially innerwear, brands have decided to add more retail stores across the country. Aditya Birla Fashion & Retail is planning to add more 300-400 Lifestyle stores in the current financial year, extending the access of retail stores to more consumers in the country. By the end of FY21, Lifestyle had 2,379 stores in India. While the retail outlet added 383 new stores during the year, it also shut down 247 unavailable stores, the report highlighted.
Despite Covid-19 pandemic, Pantaloons was also able to add 19 more stores last year and is planning to set up 60 more retail stores. As of now, Pantaloons is catering the clothing demand of people from 346 stores. Similarly, TCNS Clothing will also be adding 60 additional stores along with VMart expected to bring in 40 more retail stores in FY22.
However, the second Covid-19 wave became a hindrance to people’s shopping spree and the impact is likely to be seen in the quarter ended June, 2021.
Meanwhile, the research note said that not just apparel retailers but recovery was also seen for footwear brands. Footwear companies like Relaxo and Khadim witnessed a shift of consumers to opt for value-for-money footwear. The demand among people to buy new footwear also returned to normal during the January-March period, but this was also disrupted by the Covid-19 second wave lockdowns.
Once all restrictions are lifted, people are expected to go back to purchasing new clothes and footwear. Albeit, the uncertainties pertaining to further lockdowns on the back of expected third wave, are still there.