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Friday, Apr 23, 2004

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Raymond promises `divine' feel with 220S

Anna Peter

Chhindwara (Madhya Pradesh) , April 22

A FEEL of `heaven' was how the Deputy Prime Minister, Mr L.K. Advani, once described a Raymond offering.

On Wednesday, the company unveiled the Super 220S, the latest in its Chairman's collection of suitings, with a promise to make it experience divine.

But before you tear at those purse strings, consider this. While a price has not been set for the 220S, the 210S (13.2 microns), another fine fabric launched under the same collection in 2003, is priced at Rs 94,000 a suit length. The Super 220S (12.7 microns) is expected to be priced at a considerably higher price points than the 210S and will sell only 50 suit lengths at 10 Raymond stores.

So what is so special about the `suit piece'?

The wool used for the 220S has been made from one of only three bales available in the world last year. One bale was acquired by the company. It comes from a special breed of Australian merino sheep called the saxony merino, known for its fine fleece. Globally the production of this fleece is 200 kg a year.

Mr Nabankar Gupta, Group President and Wholetime Director, Raymond Ltd, said the product was a result of high-end technology. Extensive research and development have gone into the fibre development stage, spinning, weaving and finishing of the product. For instance, the checking stage alone involves about 16 processes. Globally, only two other manufacturers have attempted making a similar product.

The lengths will be available in classic design of chalk stripes, elegant stripes and fine herringbones in navy, charcoal and worsted grey.

The company is also launching a new collection in May to be called Cool Plus. "It is a polyester wool blend; the wool has special cooling properties and thus its name,'' said Mr S.K. Gupta, Vice-President, Textiles, Raymond.

In all, the company has 25 million metres of worsted suiting capacity. The Indian market is estimated at 35-36 million metres per annum.

Though the sector has been rather stagnant in the last couple of years, this year it is beginning to see a reversal with most companies discouraging the casual look at work.

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