Companies

Textile players see fresh hope in domestic towel market

Purvita Chatterjee Mumbai | Updated on January 18, 2013 Published on January 18, 2013




When one thinks of towel brands, the only national player that comes to mind is Bombay Dyeing. The towel market is dominated by unorganised players, but now many textile players hope to build their own brands in the segment.

From Mumbai-based Mafatlal Industries to Ludhiana-headquartered Trident Group, textile majors are gearing up to enter the category.

“The market for towels has always been there, but there was a vacuum in the branded segment. With Mafatlal’s foray, we expect to be the next national brand after Bombay Dyeing,” says Vineet Jain Director, Girisons Group. Mafatlal Industries has forged a joint venture with Girisons Clothing to enter the towel segment.

Offering high absorbency, Mafatlal towels intend to enhance the bathing experience, with towels made with 100 per cent cotton yarn. Apart from MBOs (multi brand outlets), the company would be using its network of Mafatlal Family Shops to sell them.

Export-oriented

Trident Group, one of the world’s largest terry towel producers, has been catering to the export market by supplying to private labels of UK and US-based retailers such as JC Penny, Macy’s and Walmart. It has recently entered the domestic towel category.

“Towels have never been recognised as a product category. Most retailers were stocking leftovers from the predominantly export-oriented textile companies. But today, the domestic market holds potential as incomes are rising and young people are buying homes. We are now entering the domestic market under the Trident brand of towels,” says P.K Markanday, COO, Home Textiles, Trident Ltd.

Under the umbrella brand of Trident, the company has recently launched four sub-brands such as Classic, Everyday, Home Essential and Colours, specifically for the domestic market through multi-brand outlets.

Ironically, most of the superior quality towels make their way to export markets through textile majors such as Welspun. “We are the largest supplier of towels in the US market today with big retailers such as Walmart and Target as our customers. Exports continue to be the mainstay of the business at 95 per cent of the sales turnover. The domestic market is growing and the Indian consumer is evolving and looking for quality which can be given only through a brand,” says Dipali Goenka, MD, Welspun Global Brands.

Welspun would now be stepping up its retail presence with branded retail outlets ‘Spaces’ to extend its towel range in the Indian market.

However, there is still a long way to go before these brands actually make headway in the category. “Apart from Bombay Dyeing and DCM, efforts to create towel brands have not met with any success. These companies had the distribution channels through their own stores. Today, most textile players have no option but to sell towels through multi-brand outlets where their brands get lost. Since there is not much growth in the export market, such companies could be looking at the domestic market,” said Arvind Singhal, CMD Technopak Advisors, a management consultancy firm.

Purvita@thehindu.co.in

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Published on January 18, 2013
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