Heavy discounting towards the end of December and early January has helped fashion apparel brands post a 15-20% increase in end-of-season sales.
A low base has also helped as sales last year were hit due to demonetisation and the resultant cash crunch with consumers. The sale period started a week before normal this year, increasing the days of heavy discounting. In fact, brands such as Global Desi, Mango, Marks & Spencer and Levi’s have been offering discounts of 40-50% for several months now.
“It has been fantastic. We would have grown by 30% over last year’s period. We are not selling festive merchandise and we are selling old merchandise,” said Alok Dubey, the chief executive of the lifestyle brands division at Arvind Lifestyle Brands. “We have seen both kind of customers, the ones who buy new merchandise and people who want to buy on bargain. So the mix is resulting into a good response.”
Puma India managing director Abhishek Ganguly said his company had seen about 20% sales growth over last year even though sales had been flat in western India.
Malls have been brimming with people since Christmas and mall owners say it has also translated into sales for retailers. Yogeshwar Sharma, the executive director of Select City Walk mall in Delhi, said the footfall in the mall had gone up by 10-12% compared to last year. “This season the number of sale days is also more than last year, another reason for good sales,” he said.
DLF Malls head Pushpa Bector said business had picked up since early December with major international brands at the mall doing more than Rs 10-12 crores of business.
While most brands have some sections with heavily discounted items, mainly in order to liquidate inventory, most have stocked their shelves with fresh arrivals in order to tempt customer to buy full price items.
“Benetton has already launched SS18 (Spring, Summer) in quite a few stores and this year we expect to end EOSS (end of season sale) sooner than the last year,” Benetton India managing director Sundeep Chugh said. The season has been faring as per expectations and Benetton’s sale period is aligned with the market, he said.
However, not everyone has seen robust growth. The chief executive of a leading apparel brand said perpetual discounting on account of GST had affected the end-of-season sale in a big way. “The season sale until now has not been encouraging at all. We may achieve the desired sale, but it will be only through heavy discounting,” he said.
“This is despite the winter being relatively better than the last two years and also the sale season starting a week earlier than last year,” he added.
A franchisee of top multinational brands in North India said while sales had picked up “slightly” due to discounting during the end of season “it is not that great.”