Textiles and clothing are getting expensive
Radha (name changed) went to Gani market in Erode on Friday to buy some essential clothes for her family. While the shopkeeper quoted ₹140 for one product, she wanted it for ₹90. Unable to get it at such a low price, she went to another store.
“The wholesale price of basic garments, like banyan tree, has gone up from ₹90 to ₹140 a piece in the past four months. But customers are asking for the old rate. We can’t sell at such a low price and so they leave without buying anything,” explains K. Selvaraj, president of the weekly association of textile traders in Gani market. According to him, activity has fallen by 50% over the past four months due to the sharp rise in the prices of textile products.
The price increase varies from product to product, ranging from 30% to 40% for many items. This is due to the sharp rise in cotton and yarn prices. Various reasons are given to explain the increase in cotton and yarn prices. But it hurts customers and the industry, he says.
The market traders, numbering more than 200, trade wholesale from Monday to Wednesday every week and trade in retail on other days. “We used to do business worth ₹5 crore from Monday to Wednesday. Now it’s not even ₹1 crore. So we are reducing the goods we buy from manufacturers,” he says.
According to the South India Hosiery Manufacturers Association in Tiruppur, whose members supply hosiery across the country, prices for hosiery have risen by 30% since January. “It’s a matter of survival now. Orders are going down and even if there are orders, manufacturers are reluctant because they don’t know how much raw material prices will go up,” says one of its members. .
R. Nandagopal, a clothing exporter and president of the Power Table Owners’ Association, says customers buy between half a dozen and a dozen pieces when shopping for clothing essentials. Now they buy two or three pieces because of the high price. Agents who pick up goods from manufacturers do not pay on time because they have inventory piling up.
In the case of exports, manufacturers are unable to quote prices and purchase yarn for the order without obtaining confirmation from buyers. “The workers in my unit worked 12 hours a day and on Sundays. We recruit regularly. Now there are only eight hours of work a day and Sundays are public holidays. There are no new recruitments,” he said.
Southern India Mills’ Association Chairman Ravi Sam pointed out that the price of cotton fell from ₹73,800 per candy in January to ₹1 lakh in May and the price of yarn fell from ₹401 per kg to ₹481 per kg. Textile and clothing inflation rose due to high raw material costs, he said.
Several small mills have stopped producing and buying cotton because it is not viable to operate at current price levels, according to the South India Spinners’ Association.