The hosiery industry of Ludhiana has made a happy start for the coming winter season with a 20% growth in the booking of retail orders as compared to the previous year. The industry is also anticipating a robust jump in the wholesale orders as well.
The industry is expecting total orders to touch around Rs 17,000 crore this year, a significant jump from Rs 10,000 crore in the last season. The winter retail orders are normally placed in April-May of every year, while wholesalers place their orders after two months.
The hosiery sector was badly hit last year due to the demonetisation, local manufacturers said. According to the industry, the total order size had slipped from Rs 14,000 crore to around Rs 10,000 crore last year.
The industry says woes of the two disruptions — the demonetisation and the Goods and Services Tax (GST) — are almost over, which was a major concern. Although the GST was implemented in July last year, the fear of impending indirect tax reform also had an adverse impact on the hosiery trade, Knitwear Club Chairman Vinod Thapar said.
The industry is also expecting a similar increase in wholesale orders that is generally made in July every year. While retailers book orders in advance for branding, labelling and packaging, wholesalers do not undertake such value additions, Thapar said. Ludhiana hosiery industry mainly caters to the wholesale market of Delhi and NCR.
A decline in demand is also attributed to design and innovation. Some companies are able to attract buyers in large numbers because they are offering products matching the latest trend, Sudarshan Jain, a member of the Knitwear & Apparel Manufacturers Association, said. “In today’s era, adopting global trends and colours in vogue has to be taken care of while manufacturing,” he said.
The GST and the e-way bill system have proved to be beneficial for the industry as they have made business simpler, Jain said. “After e-way bill there is less documentation. Now no time is wasted at state borders to validate documents with regard to inter-state movement of goods and corruption is minimal,” he said.
Vinay Kansal, a small hosiery manufacturer from Bajwa Nagar, is hopeful this season. “Last year was not good for us as the retailers hesitated to pick stuff because of the GST hiccups. As a result, they don’t have any inventory left. Therefore, they have placed orders in good number this season. I am also expecting same from the wholesalers as well,” he said.
Ludhiana’s hosiery industry has a history of more than 100 years. The first unit was set up in 1903 with imported hand-operated machines.