A strategy of aggressively pushing for higher market share in selected product categories has enabled Sri Lanka's Brandix Group to achieve healthy growth in the first half of 2009, despite global retail inventories shrinking by 20 per cent, the country's top apparel exporter has disclosed.
The Group's apparel sales have seen a tremendous growth in 2008 and in the first six months of the current year in the face of a US$ 17 billion drop in retail sales last year, contracting inventories and lower average unit costs, Brandix CEO Ashroff Omar told supply chain partners at the Brandix Vendor Summit in Colombo recently.
Top vendors to Brandix had benefitted significantly as a result of the Group's commitment to direct more business to preferred suppliers, said Mr. Omar, revealing that continued growth would be possible by re-engineering vendor cost structures, focusing on 'Trend-right Fashion', reducing concept-to-store lead times, flexibility on speed and pricing, unrelenting commitment to on-time delivery (OTD) & quality and a focus on sustainability initiatives.
More than 150 supply chain partners and 30 foreign visitors participated at Brandix' Vendor Summit, themed 'Beyond the Limits'.
Stressing that "in our quest to push beyond the limits we will have to challenge every paradigm that exists today," Mr. Omar cited examples of how Brandix had grown its underwear segment from a virtually insignificant category to one that represents a third of the Group's business in just two years. Brandix had also been the first apparel manufacturer to invest in a factory in the eastern province and achieved a world first with its LEED Platinum-rated eco-friendly apparel factory, he pointed out.
Brandix Director Udena Wickremesooriya whose presentation focused on 'the shape of things to come' disclosed that the biggest challenge facing the industry was how to bring prices down, crash lead times, and achieve flawless execution in terms of on-time delivery whilst offering a 'Best Price' proposition.
Prices across all categories from men's underwear, commodity, fashion and best price panties, fashion bras, lounge wear and woven pants, had fallen by 10 to 27 per cent over the past year or two, and buyers continue to pressure manufacturers to reduce prices, Mr. Wickremesooriya said.
A highlight of the event was the presentation of awards to the nine top vendor partners of Brandix. The award categories were Best Support Product Partner, Best Apparel Service Provider, Most Innovative Partner - Accessories, Most Innovative Partner - Textile, Best Emerging Partner - Accessories, Best Emerging Partner - Textile, Most Flexible Partner, Vendor of the Year - Textile and Vendor of the Year - Accessories.
The pioneer of the concept of 'total solutions' in Sri Lanka's apparel sector, Brandix is a preferred solutions provider to some of the world's leading apparel brands, including Gap, Marks & Spencer, Victoria's Secret, NEXT, Lands' End, Abercrombie & Fitch, Old Navy and Tommy Hilfiger. The Group specializes in casual bottoms, intimate and active wear, textiles, knitted fabrics, sewing and embroidery thread, accessories and hangers, and also offers wet processing and finishing and fabric printing.