Chandigarh: Ludhiana‘s famous hosiery cluster in Punjab is staring at losses on account of lower offtake of garments because of the delayed winter as it finds repeat orders hard to come by with retailers having already been left with a heavy stock of winter wear. The weak demand for clothes for the cold weather has forced the hosiery industry to offer discounts in early December to attract customers at retail counters and clear the stock.
Otherwise, big brands in the hosiery sector start offering discounts in the last week of December or first week of January, say the industry. October, November and December are considered the key months for Ludhiana’s hosiery sector which is one of the oldest clusters in the country. The key markets for the hosiery industry are Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Jammu and Kashmir, Bihar and some north eastern states.
The industry is famous for winter garments like jackets, sweaters, thermals, cardigans, pullovers, inner wear, shawls etc.
“Because of the delayed winter, the hosiery sector in Ludhiana is facing a tough time,” says Sham Bansal of Rage, a well-known and premium brand for women’s wear.
The maximum sales for winter wear take place in October, November and December, points out another manufacturer.
“But there was very less demand for garments in this season from wholesalers and retailers. They placed orders only for once and did not come back for placing orders for a second or third time while complaining that there was very low demand for winter garments at retail counters,” said another winter garment manufacturer.
Some manufacturers are already fearing non-clearance of existing stocks and are offering 10-20 per cent discounts on winter wear.
“We started offering discounts from December 10 but retailers said what they would do with it when demand was not there,” said the manufacturer. Navin Sood, who owns a factory in Ludhiana, says there was more than 50 per cent drop in sales at retail counters during this season as compared to normal business season.
“There was a delay in the onset of winter this time which led to slump in demand for garments. The weather conditions remained unfavourable for the hosiery sector,” says Sood.
He further says, “our Tibetan customers who buy winter garments from Ludhiana and sell in several parts of the country by putting up stalls and holding exhibitions, did not make repeat orders this time due to weak demand. Usually they buy winter wear two to three times in the season.”
“Similarly, Kashmiri traders also buy goods from us and sell door-to-door but this time they were also not keen to make another round for making a reorder,” points out Sood.
Hosiery goods manufacturers further say when they call up wholesalers and retailers in Punjab and other states for payment, their customers cite poor sales and send videos showing shops filled with existing stocks.
Sood says the marriage season in December also failed to lift demand for winter wear which came as another setback for the industry.
“The unfavourable weather has come as a major disappointment and will not augur well for the hosiery sector,” says Sood.
Though minimum temperatures dropped in many places in the northern region in the past few days, the hosiery industry is hopeful that the demand for winter wear may pick up which will help in clearance of some existing stock.