As blossoms spring, so does lawn - Atif Salman Hashmi

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As blossoms spring, so does lawn - Atif Salman Hashmi

Post by atifsalmanhashmi on Mon Jul 04, 2011 1:33 am

With the arrival of the spring season, city roads have been decorated with colourful billboards showcasing a vibrant variety of lawn designs and floral patterns.
The designer lawn craze – that appeared to be a fad when it started off a few years ago – has caught on rather rapidly over the course of a few years. But what’s noticeable this year is the explosion of lawn suppliers, with many old players getting even more aggressive, as several new players enter the market.
This trend is quite astonishing at a time when cotton prices are talking to the clouds, with many debutant players – like Bonanza, Nomi Ansari, Stoneage – having joined the likes of big lawn-making names such as Gul Ahmed , Al Karam , Lakhani Silk Mills..
Although designer lawns cater to a very small percentage of women in Pakistan, the affluent group of fashion-conscious females offers a great business potential for designers and textile manufacturers. With all suppliers competing in the same segment, the prices of the latest collection of high-end lawns have increased by just around 30 percent on average.
While this may seem astronomical in isolation, it is somewhat dwarfed by the rise in raw cotton prices and the overall cost of doing business. Cotton prices have increased by more than 130 percent in the past one year to around Rs11,000 per maund at the start of February, from Rs4600 same period a year earlier.
The ensembles, which were sold in the range of Rs2,200–Rs2,800 last year, are now selling in the range of Rs3,200–Rs3,800. High competition has also compelled manufacturers to improve their quality and reduce their profit margins.
For the big fish textile manufacturers, who bought cotton six to eight months before the production of lawn prints began, low cost of raw materials helped to keep the final prices from escalating.
Interestingly, however, designers who sold dresses at premium prices last year, and who weren’t able to take huge inventory positions, have also kept dress prices at par with the market, and instead chosen to reduce their margins in an attempt to capture market share.
Industry sources say that the manufacturing cost of high-quality fabric dresses is hovering around Rs1200–1800, depending on quality. Add to that, a chiffon ‘dupatta’ and embroidery -- which cost around Rs800–1000 and Rs300–600, respectively – and the total production cost of a dress sums up to Rs2300–Rs 3300.
Besides, the sellers have spent millions on advertisements, with some textile companies putting their advertising expenditures between Rs20–50 million.
“It is not easy to fool the customers. The market response is overwhelming as buyers realise that prices are justified and very reasonable,” said one textile manufacturer who has just launched a collection in collaboration with a designer
Looking ahead, in a market marked by rising cotton prices and an increasing number of new entrants, it will be rather difficult for manufacturers to remain competitive in the next season. Indeed, as one industry expert puts it, this year is a ‘testing ground’ as only those who will win competition and improve their branding this season would be seen in the next.


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