Anand & Varun Jain, The Economic Times
Delhi, 6 January 2016
sale on winterwear has started in the middle of the season, as
an unusually warm winter has hurt demand, forcing top brands to
tweak their strategies. Industry experts estimate India's annual
winter wear market at around $2.3 billion (Rs 15,300 crore). This
year, sales are around 15% below the expected level because of
a mild winter in the North, said two of them.
Brands such as Woodland and Marks & Spencer, which are high
on winter wear, started selling winter wear in October, a month
earlier than usual, expecting people to buy in anticipation of
a harsh winter. While several of them are now replacing heavy
woolens with light ones, brands such as Levi Strauss and Woodland
started offering discounts on winter apparel, footwear and accessories
as early as December 23.
"Due to the balmy winters this year, we at Woodland have
tweaked our inventory at the stores accordingly. Since we see
slow demand for bulky winter merchandise, we have stocked our
stores with sweatshirts, fleeces, bomber and gilet jackets instead,
which have been flying off the shelves. We also have a range of
ankle boots, which have been the rage all winter and have replaced
thigh high boots this season," said Managing Director Harkirat
Marks & Spencer is focussing on light knits, cable knits
and cashmere jumpers this season.
"This winter, layering was a key trend. As every part of
India does not face winter with same intensity, having a range
of styles in linen refreshed in latest colours of the season really
helps, so we continue to offer linen all year round," said
Venu Nair, managing director of Marks & Spencer Reliance India.
He refused to comment on current trading and trading over the
last quarter citing the silent period before reporting its group
results on January 7.
Pepe India, which is primarily a denim brand but also sells winter
apparel extensively, launched its winter collection ahead of Diwali.
"Normally we used to launch winter collection after Diwali,
but this year we went ahead with it by October 15. We also reengineered
our product line and brought more of sweat shirts and lighter
denim jackets which are useful for a longer part of the season,"
said CEO Kavindra Mishra.
Most parts of northern India, which is a huge market for winter
wear for apparel brands, has experienced warmer winter this year.
According to the India Meteorological Department, minimum temperature
as on Tuesday was 5-7 degrees above normal in places such as Delhi,
Chandigarh, Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh.
"Winter wear is an extremely seasonal product and it
is limited to a small part of the geography of India," said
Devangshu Dutta, CEO at consultancy Third Eyesight. "From
that point of view, the sales of winter wear would have got impacted."
However, he said, it is too early until late January to term the
season a write-off.
"We have seen that the weather patterns are fairly unpredictable;
so you can actually get a cold snap in the middle of January and
that time it pushes up sales."
(Published in The