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Calling the pandemic-hit quarter of April-June 2020 the “darkest hour in fiscal year,” the country’s leading player in suits and shirts, Raymond said a recovery in the segment would take a “mid-term delay” when life resumed. normality, mainly motivated by the dressing occasioned by the occasions and the celebrations as well as by the vaccination in progress. Demand for clothing, which is a non-essential item, with discretionary spending has been impacted, Raymonds said in its latest annual report while discussing branded textiles, its flagship business.

He expects “modest growth” in the fabrics sector with increasing competition from ready-made garments, in addition to weak near-term traction in the export market due to the pandemic.

In 2020-2021, sales of branded textiles had fallen nearly 46% to Rs 1,572 crore, compared to Rs 2,917 crore in 2019-20.

While discussing the segment’s outlook, Raymond said, “With vaccination gaining momentum, there is a slight increase in consumer sentiment resulting in pent-up demand, increased footfall and higher conversion rate. . ”

“The main sales drivers such as the impending wedding season, the festivities and the complete reopening of the markets are expected to boost demand,” he added.

While talking about its branded clothing business, which has four differentiated brands – Raymond Ready to Wear (RRTW), Park Avenue, ColorPlus and Parx – had seen a 71.8% drop in sales to Rs 457 crore in 2020- 21 against Rs 1,619 crore a year ago.

“The second wave of the pandemic has further dampened consumer sentiment and discretionary spending which is likely to dominate the consumer landscape,” he said.

Raymond said he faces challenges such as weak consumer sentiment, steep player discounts to clear old stocks, including in e-commerce markets, and extended end-of-season sales (EoSS) . Attractive price cuts also increase the pressure on margins, he added.

In addition, the company’s retail operations, which operate in multiple formats, including The Raymond Shop, exclusive outlets for its private labels, were also “primarily affected” due to lockdowns in the first half of the year. 2020-21 fiscal year, he added.

The company added that consumer demand picked up in the second half of the year with Unlock-1, festivities, EoSS and wedding season, he added.

“Unprecedented market disruptions and lingering uncertainties have impacted consumer sentiment, resulting in limited visibility in the short to medium term,” Raymond said while discussing the outlook for the retail segment.

The retail segment is facing challenges as the pandemic has changed the trend of seeing heavy footfall in shopping malls, primarily affecting corporate commercial objects (EBOs) in the short to medium term.

Besides, it also faces sales promotions throughout the year and big discounts in e-commerce markets.

Additionally, during the pandemic that accompanied a shift in consumer behavior towards the web, Raymond improved his digital capabilities.

“As we improve and strengthen our digital capabilities to enable smooth customer journeys across all platforms, the difficult year has seen us introduce an increased number of technological interfaces for the convenience and safety of consumers in their purchases at home. both virtually and physically, ”he said.

Speaking to shareholders, Raymond Chairman and CEO Gautam Hari Singhania said COVID-19 has demarcated consumer products into essential and non-essential categories, which picked up short-term spending trends.

“The first quarter was the darkest hour of the year when neither companies had a clue of how to deal with the pandemic nor were they aware of the severity of the impact.

“Given the lack of short-term visibility, it was time to do some soul-searching and take immediate action to stay the course,” he said.

The first two quarters of the year are committed to ensuring that these measures are prioritized and at Raymond, “we are committed to doing the same,” added Singhania.

“We made some tough decisions during the year that paid off for us as we reduced debt in fiscal year 2020-21, demonstrating our resilience, especially during the pandemic.

“Having witnessed the second wave of COVID-19 causing more devastation and its reluctance to go away soon, the key to getting the economy back on track is the accelerated pace of vaccination,” he said. declared.

The company also operates in the automotive tools and hardware and components segments. They were, according to Singhania, the “black horses” and “defied all odds posed by the pandemic”. The segments recorded high growth rates both in terms of revenue and EBITDA margins. His real estate business has become the “new core” of the business, he added.

Ebitda stands for earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization.

Raymond’s consolidated turnover was Rs 3,648 crore for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2021. He had a turnover of Rs 6,578 crore in 2019-2020.

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