Fashion retailers count on end-of-season sales to shore up top line

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Some of the country’s top fashion retailers, including names such as Central, Lifestyle and Brand Factory, have advanced their end-of-season sales, offering as much as 50 per cent discount on merchandise in June as the pressure to grow their top line increases. Apparel retailers reported lower same-store sales growth (SSG) for the January-March period (Q4) due to consumption slowdown. 

For Q4, average SSG hovered between 3 and 9 per cent for most players (barring Brand Factory), lower than the 8-20 per cent range seen in Q3, which was also a festive quarter. Some players such as Pantaloons from Aditya Birla Fashion and Retail saw SSG decline in Q4, coming in at -4.4 per cent for the period under review. 

SSG is sales growth for stores a year and above. Brand Factory was the only chain to buck the slowdown trend, reporting an SSG of 13.1 per cent in Q4.

In the coming weeks, chains such as Shoppers Stop, Westside and V-Mart are likely to kick off their end-of-season sales, joining the rush, sources said. Kishore Biyani, founder and chief executive officer, Future group, said both Central and Brand Factory were using different tactics from flat discounts to aggressive offers, promotions and cashbacks to get footfalls into stores. 

The response, he said, had been good and the sale period (at the two chains) would be extended for a few more weeks to capitalise on the momentum. 

Ashish Dikshit, managing director, Aditya Birla Fashion and Retail, said the pressure from e-tailers was also growing, prompting offline players to react quickly and come up with more sale days across the year. Apart from bricks-and-mortar chains, online platforms such as Myntra, Jabong and Amazon Fashion also have their sale periods on currently, offering deep discounts and promotions. Though fashion chains in general were counting on omnichannel retail to build traction, the segment still lacked scale, sector experts said. 

Around 3-7 per cent of a fashion retailer’s business, they said, came from the online channel, pushing players to get footfalls into stores. 

Executives at Shoppers Stop said its end-of-season sale would allow it to exhaust its summer inventory, giving it the leeway to plan for the future. 

Typically, retailers plan for their autumn/winter collections by August, so that they can launch by September/October.

Arvind Singhal, chairman, Technopak, said the end-of-season sale for most offline retailers this year would be extended till June and could move into July as well for some players keen on maximising sales.

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