One of the oldest textile businesses in India, Bombay Dyeing Manufacturing Company has officially called quits to manufacturing at a time when the Modi government is trying to attract fresh investments through its famed ‘Make in India’ slogan.

The high land cost, expensive finance and intense competition from the unorganised sector, besides growing imports from Taiwan, China and Bangladesh have hit domestic textile production.

Established by Nowrosjee Wadia in 1879, the company was known for producing quality home textile products at two prime locations in Mumbai.

In 2005, Nusli Wadia-owned company moved the manufacturing base from Mumbai to Ranjangaon near Pune. The Mumbai sites are being monetised as real estate assets.

In June 2015, the company signed an agreement to sell the Ranjangaon plant to Oasis Procon for ₹230 crore, but called off the deal in October due to payment default by the buyer. Interestingly, the value of the land on which the textile mills stood in Mumbai is now much more than the textile business of many leading companies.

Bombay Dyeing was once the flagship firm of the Wadias, but the group has now diversified into several businesses, including airlines, food, chemicals, petrochemicals, plantations, light engineering and real estate. Nagesh Rajanna, CEO (Retail), Bombay Dyeing, said the company for long was known for manufacturing, but now the focus will only be on retailing.

“We have shortlisted many vendors and of them 10 vendors supply products which account for 85 per cent of revenue,” he said.

The company, which sells linens, towels, home furnishings, leisure clothing, kids wear and other products, has set out strict quality parameters for vendors and ensures they adhere to quality norms by making frequent visit to their factory. It plans to invest ₹100 crore in retailing and re-branding itself to appeal the younger generation.

With a target to achieve a turnover of ₹1,000 crore in the next four years, the company plans to increase franchise stores to 500 from 200, enhance customer reach by doubling multi-brand outlets to 10,000 and turn over 30 company-owned stores into product experience centres for customers. It recorded a turnover ₹110 crore from textile retailing in the September quarter.

“We will be launching three-four new products every year to attract younger generation and retain loyal customers,” said Rajanna.

e-commerce portal

Bombay Dyeing is also setting its own e-commerce portal to take advantage of the good response for its products in the online market place. The portal is expected to go live by this month end.

Apart from lack of touch and feel of products, Rajanna said the major challenge in e-commerce will be to handle the logistics as most of its products are bulky.