Guwahatians Can Expect a ‘Sale’ Rush at Clothing, Fashion Stores Post Lockdown

Wednesday, 12 August 2020


Guwahatians Can Expect a ‘Sale’ Rush at Clothing, Fashion Stores Post Lockdown

Rifa Deka | July 11, 2020 13:01 hrs

With retail outlets pushing their spring-summer collection to pre-Diwali and with branded stores selling off merchandise at modest prices, shoppers in Guwahati are in for a treat post lockdown! 

Does your heart slide like warm butter on a hot toast when you see a clothing store? Then you must be another shopaholic deprived off the luxury of visiting a store due to the current lockdown.

Who doesn’t miss that feeling of walking into fancy stores full of fashion apparel and walking past big mirrors, modeling brand new outfits with matching pairs of shoes? 

Whether or not one loves to shop, we all need to revamp our wardrobes sometime or the other and we all need clothes for every occasion. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, however, has left the average shopper, the shopping addict and the fashion and clothing industry adversely affected.

Among the long list of businesses and events to have incurred losses or to have been postponed indefinitely due to the pandemic are the Met Gala, CFDA Awards and big brands in fashion industry like Aldo, Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus and Macy’s among others who have filed for bankruptcy. 

The Aldo Group had filed for bankruptcy protection on May 7 this year, under pressure from its stores being closed. This however, should not have much effect on its stores in India as per the brand’s Indian counterpart. The shoe retailer operated in over 100 countries across the globe and was among the leading footwear and accessory brands which was doing very well over the past half a century.

The retail industry had been hit due to the online shopping trend off late and the brand was just about beginning to adapt to the change in consumer trends. But with the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, everything came to a standstill even in this part of the region.

Many other fashion retailers like Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin Klein, Arrow and Jack & Jones have also chalked out plans to push their spring-summer collection, all the way to October or just before Diwali to clear up the huge pile of inventory left unsold due to the lockdown. 

Things have not been any different in Guwahati; this part of the northeast region is also adopting similar measures to pump up sales post lockdown.

“Everything we have is from the summer collection and I don’t think the market will be feasible for us before September,” said Sandeep Jalan, CEO of Sohum Shoppe Pvt. Ltd.

“In Assam, we had already purchased a huge stock before March 21 when the lockdown began because it was a big season for us. Already we have enough stock with us and we don’t think we need to purchase the latest collection right now as the footfall has also come down by around 70 percent,” said Sandeep Jalan.

Major brands also reportedly halted production due to the same reason of unsold stock and the lockdown. However, despite the shortcomings, there’s good news for customers who love pricey brands but are on a tight budget as big sales could be on their way post the lockdown! 

“We have enough inventories lying with us which we have to probably put on sale,” said the CEO of the retailing giant from the region.

On production being reduced or halted and the current status of supply in the market, Jalan said, “Whether certain brands will stop production completely depends on vendors and companies. Production of various companies has been slashed by about 50 percent which is only given to the top retailers.

The fashion chain Forever 21 which also happens to be an all time favourite shopping destination for all teenagers. It had already fallen prey to changing consumer preferences and has now almost completely hit the brakes due to COVID-19. 

Forever 21 filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection too in the US and had to shut a big chunk of its stores across the globe. Chapter 11 is named after the US Bankruptcy Code 11 which gives companies time to restructure their debts and chalk out a plan to stay in business. 

Here, in India, Forever 21 apparel is sold by the Aditya Birla Group under its Aditya Birla Fashion Retail Limited (ABFRL), which is another big player in the Indian clothing and fashion Industry. It is a part of the USD 48.3 billion Aditya Birla Group with revenues of Rs 8,743 crores. It is India's first billion-dollar pure-play fashion powerhouse with an elegant bouquet of leading fashion brands and retail formats. 

“In the first quarter we were open only for 21 days (as per government guidelines). As a whole, footfall at our stores had dropped badly but we hoped that the second quarter would be better,” said Pranjal Pathak, a senior sales and marketing person presently working with the Aditya Birla Group in the Northeast.

“As of now we have not received any communication from brands but it is obvious that we’ll have to push back the collection or else run the stores with piled up inventory,” Pranjal added. 

“The covid-19 pandemic has hampered the online market also. Due to this lock down situation most of our online sites are also not in service in certain areas,” he said on online sale of their products.

The senior sales person made certain speculations on the post lockdown scenarios and expressed his views on the government’s decision to shut everything down. “Personally, I can assume a good sale, but it completely depends upon the footfall at the stores and I think that the government should look for better ways to fight COVID-19 rather than locking everything down,” he said.

The fashion conglomerate has a strong network of 3,041 brand stores across the country with a collection of leading brands such as Louis Philippe, Van Heusen, Allen Solly and Peter England established for over 25 years. Some of their other brands include Pantaloons which is also India’s largest value fashion brand store.

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