“Indian Market is flooded with Chinese product once again”
Mohammed Afzal, 34, is a well-known retailer on Zafarabad -Dharampuri Road, in East Delhi. He has been in the business of garments and accessories products for several years. Afzal says that the whole garment business is going through a tough time due to lockdown.
Mohammed Afzal, 34, is a well-known retailer on Zafarabad-Brahampuri Road, in East Delhi. He has been in the business of garments and accessories products for several years. Afzal says that the whole garment business is going through a tough time due to lockdown. Excerpts from an interview -:
Q: How has been the retail market doing post-lockdown?
A: The market was recovering after the unlocking process and consumers were returning to the market. During Diwali, we experienced very good sale volumes of all items in the retails sector. However, the news which circulated post-Diwali that the government would enforce another lockdown due to an increase in infection of the Covid-19 cases hurt our interest badly.
Q: But that was almost a month ago when there was new of another lockdown in Delhi. But it never happened. So how did it impact your business?
A: Delhi’s borders were sealed completely for two days and this impacted the supply of a lot of products. Essential and day-to-day use of products didn’t have as much problem as other product other non-essential products. Since we deal with non-essential products like apparel, garments, shoes, cosmetics, etc, our supplies were hit badly. We can still experience that impact.
Q: Do you think the call to boycott Chinese products also causes any shortage of products in the market?
A: See, boycotting products through slogans and speeches is one thing but barring products from entering the Indian market is something else. Let me tell you today 60 percent to 70 percent of products come from China. Be it shoes or garments or you name a product and we have Chinese brand available in the market. During lockdown since the supply was completely halted, the Chinese products were not reaching the market. But post unlocking, I don’t think there is any shortage of Chinese products in the market.
Q: As a retailer in Delhi, what kind of problems you are facing?
A: To understand the problem of a retailer, you need to look at the whole supply chain disruption during the lockdown. When the lockdown was imposed, the stock remained in godowns and warehouses. After the unlocking process, those stocks were sold till Diwali. Now the new stocks have become expensive due to the increase in the cost of raw material. So, a stockist who used to stock, let’s say 100 items of one product, is financially not capable of doing that. So, the stock has become limited in the wholesale market such as Karol Bagh, Gandhi Nagar, Tank Road, etc. We don’t have a lot of variety to show to the consumers also?
How much is the price appreciation on an average on garment and accessories products?
A: First of all, all products have become expensive due to the increase in the cost of raw material. According to my estimation, on average, there is 50 percent to 75 percent cost escalation. Our worse fear is the news of the mutant virus spreading in India. If that happens, then everything will go for a toss.
Q: By when do you think the situation will normalise?
A: It is very difficult to say because garments and accessories products experience good sales only on two occasions – marriage functions and festivals. Now there is no big festival ahead in the coming months. So, I think it will take almost a complete cycle of the year to improve the situation.