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  • T E Narasimhan

Textile hub Tirupur in a stitch as world brands cut down export orders


Tirupur, the garment hub that makes exports worth Rs 26,000 crore annually, had a forgettable year in 2019. At least four world famous brands that sourced their products from the Tamil Nadu city either filed for bankruptcy in the US and Europe as demand slowed down due to competition from online channels and costs going up.

MotherCare, the baby and maternity clothes retailer that annually sourced garments worth Rs 100 crore from a single exporter in Tirupur, filed for bankruptcy in the UK and will close all its 79 shops in that country. It was the latest world-famous brand to pull down Tirupur’s fortunes.

Media reports quoting Coresight Research said that as of November 1, nearly 9,000 textile retail stores were closed in major markets across the US and Europe. The closures were 55 per cent higher than last year's.

As many as 10 major brands, including Forever 21, Payless and Barney's, filed for bankruptcy between January and October, estimated CB Insights, which tracks private company financing and angel investments.

Textile Magazine, in its latest issue, counted JCPenney, GAP, Sears and Victoria's Secret among major companies that have downsized. It said Zalando, the European e-commerce brand, is winding up sourcing from India after closing its private-label segment zLabels. The company once sourced garments worth nearly Euro 20 million annually from India—mainly from Bengaluru and Tirupur—but has decided to end that.

Mothercare had slumped to £36.9m loss in the financial year ending March 2019, struggling amid a period of turmoil for high street retailers. It followed the likes of Bonmarche, Jack Wills and Karen Millen, which have gone bust in recent months, according to UK’s Daily Mail tabloid.

One of the key reasons for these brands to shutdown is changing consumer trends and competition from e-commerce players.

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