Sindhu J. Bhattacharya

New Delhi, May 15

RAYMOND Apparel Ltd (RAL) is getting aggressive in the face of impending competition from international as well as domestic brands in menswear.

The wholly owned subsidiary of Raymond Ltd plans to expand capacity and a massive retail push to strengthen its presence in the Rs 5,000-crore branded menswear market. Also on the anvil is a foray into the international markets, beginning with West Asia.

"The menswear market is getting very competitive and we have firmed up plans to strengthen our market share through a mixture of capacity expansion and retail push. We have earmarked up to Rs 30 crore for capacity expansion this fiscal," its President, Mr Shreyas Joshi, told Business Line.

He said the company has two manufacturing facilities and is in the process of setting up several smaller garment-manufacturing units in Bangalore this fiscal.

RAL has also decided to spruce up its retail network. The company plans to open 25-30 exclusive stores for its three brands - Park Avenue, Parx and Manzoni - over the next two years.

Said Mr Joshi: "This exercise will need up to Rs 12 crore investment. We are keen to open these exclusive stores since they provide brand focus and a better shopping experience for the customer". The company opened its first exclusive store for Park Avenue for North India in Delhi on Saturday.

He said that each of RAL's three brands has a specific positioning - while Park Avenue is being positioned as a formal wear range, Parx has been pegged as a casual wear range whereas Manzoni is meant for the super premium end of the menswear market. However, competition has been increasing for each of the three brands from Raymond. Louis Phillipe, Van Heusen and Arrow compete with Park Avenue; Allen Solly, Indian Terrain with Parx and there are talks of several international brands such as UK's Savile Row also setting foot in the Indian market.

On plans for the international market, he said the company already exports to Raymond stores in West Asia, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh but was in negotiations for setting up its exclusive stores in West Asia.

Raymond Apparel is eyeing 15-20 per cent topline growth this fiscal, having clocked a turnover of Rs 260 crore in 2004-05.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated May 16, 2005)
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