For majority of Indian apparel exporters, the pandemic phase has been the time to wait and watch, as they have not been taking any major or interesting initiatives in these uncertain and tough times.
However, there are few industry leaders who undeterred by the present crises are taking this challenge head on – they are taking progressive approach to moving ahead with either product diversification, or improving manufacturing setups by adding new technologies or working with workers to improve productivity..
Pee Empro Exports, Faridabad, with a turnover of Rs. 350 crore, is one such manufacturer!
One of the leading apparel exporters of Delhi-NCR, Pee Empro Exports recently added sweaters in its product basket and has started shipping orders of the same – the idea which was born out of the present crises.
It is also pertinent to mention here that last year the company had invested almost Rs. 40 crore in its new factory of 2,000 machines.
In discussion with Apparel Resources, PMS Uppal, MD, Pee Empro Exports, shared “Fashion items are not doing good as such value-added items sell more in brick and mortar stores rather than online as while buying online, the customer is always little hesitant in buying value-added garments. He or she would like to see embroidery, fit while basic garments sell more through online. Being a hub for value-added garments, this is a challenge for North India.”
Regarding sweaters, the company has taken small orders but within 6 to 8 months it can increase the production to take it to 100,000 pieces per month.
“Apparel market has globally shrunk by at least 30 per cent and to expand and expect rise in business by offering same product category was very much difficult. Therefore, adding new product category was the only option for us to grow. Globally, there is a huge market for sweaters and India has very small share in the same so we decided to focus on this segment. Though Bangladesh is very price competitive market but in value-added, high-quality, and on designs Bangladesh can’t compete with us,” he shared.
The company has invested around Rs. 2 crore in the sweater project and has further geared up to invest more in the same segment. It has also hired some senior professionals and experts to help build the category.
Talking about the international market scenario, he shared that most of the business is now with the big retailers, as many medium and small size retailers have either closed their shops or gone bankrupt.
He also told that in the last 6 months, there has been not any order shifting from China to India because that there is no Covid in China while India is on its peak. “We are facing difficulties to convince some of the buyers that we will complete their orders on time. Few of the buyers who used to place orders in India, are avoiding India due to their reservation on timely delivery, and this is just because of Covid. Such buyers will look at India only after 3 months and will decide according to the then situation in India. Buyers are buying closure to sale time, looking at sales trends and insisting on immediate deliveries. Right now, the effect is more negative than positive,” he said.
The company is anticipating at least 25 to 30 per cent decline in its turnover in the current fiscal compared to year 2019, though with its resilient growth policies is expecting a robust growth in the year 2021.