As I write this piece, preparations for the 66th National Garment Fair (NGF) are in full swing. For some time now, the Fair Committee has been trying to promote greater participation in the Summer editions of the NGFs – which typically see around 250 to 275 Brands as compared to the over 1000 Brands in the July editions. It is a measure of their continuous effort, and indeed a matter of pride for me, that this year the participation has reached an absolute record number of over 400 Brands! Kudos to the Fair Committee led by Ashok Shah and Rohit Munjal!
In a sense though, I am not surprised.
Whether one accepts it or not, the Domestic sector, and especially the MBO channel, is going through a rough patch. This channel has been hit on several fronts. On one hand, the demonetisation and GST regime has hit them much harder than the larger, organised sector; on another hand, larger chains, with much greater resources and deeper pockets, are slowly but surely entering the B and C City markets, eating into a customer base which the MBOs were claiming to be their exclusive domain; on yet another front, customers across the country have tasted blood by way of discounts and offers from various e-commerce sites, not to mention the ten month of the year ‘promotions’ offered by Brands in their EBOs and Large Format stores.
All of the above makes the National Garment Fair a prime platform for both MBOs and the smaller Regional Players to seek out newer partners, newer markets, and newer products to sustain their business. And hence, the increasing demand for space in the Fairs.
I have always maintained that the MBOs are not going away as a channel of distribution soon – and I still say that. But, I have to admit, the battle is getting tougher!
I have written earlier about the tremendous work done by our Payment Default Committee. Even today, nearly two years after our efforts were launched, close to R5 lakhs worth of old, disputed dues are being settled every week! But I was definitely impressed when I learnt that in the last month, C Forms worth over R4 crores were collected due to the efforts of our Payment Default Committee! This is really fantastic! The work in this Committee may not be as much in the limelight as the Fair Committee, but trust me – they are doing as outstanding a contribution as anyone else – and hats off to Kirtibhai, Prashant, and their team for their incredible effort!
This month saw the end of Ashok Rajani’s tenure as the Chairman of AEPC. It was a tough period for him, and full marks to him for having steered the Council with grace, style, and sagacity. Any leader would like to feel that he has left an institution better off when he demits office than when he took over – and I think Ashok can justly look back with pride that he has indeed done that. Well done, Ashok, you did a great job under trying conditions!
And a warm welcome to H K L Magu, the incoming Chairman. Magu Saab, as he is generally known, is a warm, ever smiling (even Smt Smriti Zubin Irani, our Minister, acknowledged this!), and genial personality, and I look forward to a close working relationship between CMAI and AEPC, as in the past.
In conclusion – may I wish all the participants and visitors to the 66th National Garment Fair a successful event, and may it mark the beginning of a better and brighter season ahead!
From the President's Desk
As I write this piece, preparations for the 66th National Garment Fair (NGF) are in full swing. For some time now, the Fair Committee has been trying to promote greater participation in the Summer editions of the NGFs – which typically see around 250 to 275 Brands as compared to the over 1000 Brands in the July editions. It is a measure .... Read More